Former Grand Prix Champion Kimi Raikkonen, in his inaugural season of the World Rally Championship, faces yet another brand new challenge this weekend at the Erzberg Rodeo, which culminates in the famous Red Bull Hare Scramble.
Kimi will go head-to-head this Saturday with another Red Bull athlete: multiple trials bike champion Taddy Blazusiak, from Poland. While Taddy will be on his usual KTM trials bike, Kimi will race him in the Citroen C4 WRC that the Finn uses in this year’s World Rally Championship.
The challenge is an awesome one: 13 kilometres of dirt road up a mountainside quarry, with more twists and turns than the Da Vinci Code. Around 1500 riders compete in the event over the course of the weekend, watched by more than 30,000 spectators, but one of the highlights will be the showdown between Kimi and Taddy on Saturday.
It’s a straightforward race from start to finish, and plenty of pride is at stake because the loser will have to wash the winner’s vehicle. Kimi has never been scared to push himself to the limit, but the challenge he has set himself this time is an awesome one, as Taddy has been the Red Bull Hare Scramble champion for the past three years running.
Kimi, by contrast, has contested only five World Championship rallies at the wheel of his Citroen C4 WRC. As usual, he will be co-driven by fellow Finn Kaj Lindstrom, while Taddy will tackle the course on his own.
Kimi said: “It should be a really interesting experience, although I really don’t know what to expect. I love bikes and I’ve got a few of my own, so I’m really looking forward to meeting Taddy and seeing the action. One thing I don’t enjoy though is washing bikes, so I have to make sure that I win! Seriously though, it’s going to be a nice challenge and I really don’t know who can be quickest. I suppose it depends on what the course is like. I’ve seen some videos and it looks awesome. We’re going to have a lot of fun this weekend”
Taddy added: “Erzberg is the race that started my career as an extreme enduro rider, so it is a very special for me. Getting the chance to compete against Kimi in his rally car will be great. He’s a great guy and a huge name in motorsport so I’m honoured to be racing against him. I will be doing some testing this week in order to be as best prepared as I can be. I’ve been fortunate at Erzberg and have three wins now, so I’m looking to make that four. But anything can happen at Erzberg, it’s such a demanding and unforgiving place.”