NO WRC COMEBACK FOR KIMI, SAYS TOYOTA

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NO WRC COMEBACK FOR KIMI, SAYS TOYOTA

TOYOTA is not planning an FIA World Rally Championship comeback for Ferrari Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen, a senior team representative says.

Britain’s Autosport.com said today Finnish media had reported Mia Miettinen, executive vice-president of Tommi Makinen Racing, which runs the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC programme, as saying the manufacturer would be interested in running Raikkonen should he end his second spell in F1.

But the idea was quashed by Toyota sporting director Kaj Lindstrom – Raikkonen’s WRC co-driver in 2010 and 2011 – who told Autosport journalist David Evans no discussions about the enigmatic Finn joining the outfit had taken place.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it. Clearly if anything like this was going to happen I would have been the first to hear about it from Tommi or him [Raikkonen],” Lindstrom said.

“For me, this is pure speculation.”

The 2007 F1 world champion’s return to the WRC would add further Finnish prestige to the Toyota squad, which is based in Finland, run by Finns and has Finnish drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi already in its line-up.

Raikkonen contested the full 2010 WRC season with Citroen’s Junior Team and a limited programme  in 2011 with his own Ice 1 Racing outfit.

He then rejoined F1 with Lotus and is now in his fifth year of a second spell at Ferrari, but previously admitted he would be interested in returning to rallying.

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.