After months of rumours surrounding the future of Kimi Raikkonen, it has been announced by Citroen that he will be joinging Sebastien Ogier in the Red Bull backed Junior squad.
The 2007 Formula 1 champion made his rally debut earlier this year, running an impressive 15th in a S2000 Abarth before developing mechanical problems and ultimately crashing out of the rally.
Despite not finishing on his debut Raikkonen caught the attention of the rally world, earning the respect of series regulars.
Raikkonen has hinted at a move to the World Rally Championship over the years and after talks with McLaren broke down was left with little viable options in Formula 1 for 2010.
“I always wanted to compete in rally, especially in the World Rally Championship at some point in my career,” said Raikkonen.
“Thanks to Red Bull, I have the opportunity to drive the best car of the series with the Citroen C4. This is a new but very exciting challenge.”
If rumours are to be believed then the link up with Red Bull will open a door for his return to Formula 1 with the Red Bull Racing team in 2011 when Mark Webber’s contract expires with the team, for the time being though Raikkonen was happy to talk about his rally career.
“For the moment we have a one-year contract and we will see how it goes for the future,” Raikkonen said. “I am really looking forward to testing the car and taking the start of the first rally.”
Citroen team boss Olivier Quesnel was delighted at his teams new signing and the increased involvement from Red Bull.
“Red Bull’s commitment and energy are a perfect fit for Citroen’s ongoing thirst for victory,” Quesnel said. “We will continue to count on SÃ©bastien and Dani to defend our world titles in 2010, and we will also be prolonging our association with Sebastien Ogier who showed outstanding potential this year.
“Last but not least, it is with immense joy that we welcome Kimi Raikkonen to our ranks. We are very proud that he has chosen Citroen.
“In addition to the confirmation of these four crews, we will hopefully be able to announce other programmes over the coming weeks.”
Raikkonen and Ogier will take part in all but one of the thirteen WRC rounds in 2010, with the team skipping the New Zealand event.
Photo Credit: Ferrari