Kimi Raikkonen has shrugged off his Rally Mexico accident as an inevitable part of his transition from Formula 1 to the World Rally Championship.
The former Ferrari F1 driver had to retire from the Mexican WRC round yesterday when he rolled his Citroen Junior C4 several times near the end of SS7. He had previously fallen down the order due to a loose connection in the car's fuel system forcing him to stop for half an hour on SS2.
"It was very unlucky: the car just slid wide at the end of the stage in a slippery braking area, so we clipped the side of the road and rolled a few times," Raikkonen explained. "I had hoped for some good things from this rally, but it was only my seventh event and I am still learning. It's normal that when you are learning anything you can get caught out by something unexpected and this is what happened to me today."
The Finn was pleased with his pace prior to the accident, having been seventh quickest on SS4 and fifth on the asphalt Coca-Cola Street stage.
"My biggest disappointment is that we're not able to continue, as I wanted to have as much time in the car as I could," he said. "I had a really good feeling earlier and I wanted to push to see what we could do. I'm sure we will come back stronger at our next event."
His co-driver Kaj Lindstrom agreed that Raikkonen had made good progress, and played down the accident.
"It was a shame that we ended our rally how we did as Kimi was making excellent progress, both with the driving and the pace notes," said Lindstrom. "When we went off we were in a braking area for a left and then a right hand corner with lots of dust and sand. Kimi had been driving perfectly to the notes and it's the sort of thing that could happen to anyone.
"Up until then things had been going really well, and I'm confident that we'll be on track again at our next event. It's all part of the game."
Citroen Junior boss Benoit Nogier also felt that Raikkonen had shown promise between his misfortunes.
"Kimi lost time this morning with a technical problem that was not at all his fault. Afterward, he set some impressive times," Nogier said. "He decided to up the pace on SS7, a stage where he felt comfortable. Unfortunately, he went off shortly before the stage finish."