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GP Week : Issue 133
As a result of failing to honour the entry for Rally Australia, Kimi Raikkonen has been excluded from the 2011 world series and fined Euros 16,200, a sum equal to the registration fee. Raikkonen entered the championship under the name of his team ‘Ice 1 Racing’ as a WRC Team. This system entitled him to score points in the WRC Manufacturers’ championship. There was a corresponding commitment to contest a total of seven rounds of the 2011 championship, of his own choosing, with two of these events being ‘long- haul’ rallies. There were four long-haul rallies this year. Raikkonen opted to miss Mexico and Argentina, contested Jordan, and had entered Australia but did not attend. The devise of permitting one-car ‘teams’ to be eligible for points for the WRC on the same level as two-car official teams from Ford and Citroen was created by the FIA to help disguise the paucity of true manufacturer teams. This year 11 teams registered for the WRC – eight, including Ice 1 Racing, being one car teams. FIA insiders have hinted this system will not carry on after the end of this season. Ice 1 Racing had been lying fifth in the championship out of the 11 teams. Day 1 in Australia, when both their cars crashed, was a major shake-up for the confidence of the Citroen Total team – and a lot of lost sleep for the mechanics. Team manager Sven Smeets said that the car of Sebastien Loeb had severe damage to the front left corner, the driver’s corner, and there was also considerable bodywork damage all round: “It was a lot of work to be carried out in the three hours allowed under SupeRally rules. We were very lucky regarding the roll-cage. There was some small damage. The FIA people checked it straight away and told us that it was OK to carry on.” Sebastien Ogier’s car had damage to all the front: “We had to fit virtually a whole new front to the car but everything was OK with the engine. Again, our people did a very good job in the permitted three hours’ service time. It seemed we had to stay here working all night! We wanted to keep our cars running in the event so we would be ready for the Power stage on Sunday afternoon and the chance to gain Drivers’ Championship points, and anyway we were already standing to win seven points in the manufacturers championship.” Raikkonen excluded from the WRC Tale of two damaged Citroens WRC AUSTRALIA >>