Citroen Junior team boss Benoit Nogier believes Kimi Raikkonen made a major breakthrough with his performance in the Rally Lanterna in Italy last weekend.
The Finn finished only 5sec behind teammate Sebastian Ogier in the national rally event, by far his best result since leaving Formula 1 behind at the end of 2009. He actually led the event – which Citroen Junior contested as an additional test – for many stages.
"We've made a lot of progress to prepare for the Rally Bulgaria," said Nogier. "I would like to highlight the performance of Kimi, who set some very good times. We expected him to feel more at ease on asphalt and that has turned out to be the case. It's very encouraging for the future."
With the second half of the World Rally Championship season featuring four asphalt rallies in seven rounds, Raikkonen's Lanterna form bodes well for him in Bulgaria next month and beyond.
"It was a good experience," said Raikkonen. "The car was fun to drive and this day will be very useful to me to get ready for the second part of the season."