All eyes might be on the Rally1 battle between Ott Tänak and Kalle Rovanperä on Rally Finland, but there’s one driver further down the order in a league of his own: Justus Räikkönen.
The nephew of 2007 Formula 1 world champion Kimi Räikkönen is making his World Rally Championship debut this weekend, and he’s already catching the eye.
Driving a Peugeot 208 Rally4 car, Räikkönen has been in a class of his own, ending Saturday with a lead of close to 20 minutes.
It’s a great achievement for the young Finn. Not only because it’s his WRC debut, but due to the fact he only began driving two years ago, following some time competing in motocross.
But unlike his uncle, he’s not a man of few words – at least in Finnish!
“Yeah, I don’t know, but that’s real good,” he said to DirtFish when his class lead was mentioned.
For now, Räikkönen’s WRC outing will be a one-off as he has his sights on events closer to home in the short term.
“First I want to win Finnish national championship and then go step by step,” he said.
“We drive next year this car and Rally2 I don’t know when.”
And don’t be fooled. He might be coy on his long term plans but it doesn’t mean Räikkönen isn’t taking his rallying seriously.
In preparation for this weekend’s rally, he did extensive training to ensure he could fully keep up to pace with his co-driver Mikael Korhonen.
“I’ve been training pacenotes 15,000km with Mikael [Korhonen, co-driver].
“A little bit on Tarmac, but mostly gravel roads.”
It remains to be seen where the young Finn ultimately ends up, but one thing is for sure, he’s definitely a driver to keep an eye on over the next few years because if his performance to date this weekend is anything to go by, he could be a force to be reckoned with in years to come.