Kimi Raikkonen is looking forward to finally getting his chance to drive a Citroen C4 WRC in anger on asphalt at next week's Rally della Lanterna – something the Finn has been waiting to do since the start of the season.
Until now, Raikkonen has only driven the Citroen on snow and gravel, apart from asphalt sections of stages in New Zealand and on superspecial stages. As part of his ramped-up asphalt test program, Raikkonen and his fellow Citroen Junior Team driver Sebastien Ogier will tackle the June 11-12 event in Italy.
"I'm really happy to get this opportunity to drive in Italy," Raikkonen said. "I've still got many fans there and I'm sure that there will be a really nice atmosphere. Since the very start of the season, I've always been really keen to try out the Citroen C4 WRC on asphalt. We're going to treat this rally as a life-sized test session."
Raikkonen has only ever driven one asphalt rally before, when he tackled the Rally della Marca in his Abarth Garnde Punto S2000 last year. He retired from that event early on.
Recent Rally of Portugal winner Ogier is also delighted with this boost to his season – particularly given that four of the remaining seven rounds of the World Rally Championship are on asphalt.
"With the end of the season heavily biased toward asphalt, this rally will allow us to get back up to speed with the Citroen C4 WRC on this surface," said Ogier. "Taking part in a real rally will allow us to experience competitive conditions, which will help us be ready for Bulgaria and the rest of the season in Germany, France and Spain."
Alongside the Citroen Junior Team drivers, local driver Felice Re – the current leader of the Italian asphalt trophy – will also take part in Rally della Lanterna driving a Citroen C4 WRC.