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kimi-70Kimi Raikkonen will lead Fiat’s addition to the World Rally Championship in 2010, according to the latest rumors, which seem to have a little basis in fact.

It’s just the “facts” don’t have anything to do with Kimi.

Here is what we do have. The Financial Times reported today that Fiat and Volkswagen are on the verge of joining the WRC. Well, the FT reported that two manufacturers, “believed to be” Fiat and VW, are close to signing.

Neil Duncanson, chief executive of North One, the London-based television production company that owns the series, said: “I’ve got one or two who I think will come in. I don’t want more than four because any more than that and they can’t win.”

That statement then leads to rumors that Kimi would end up in a Fiat seat. Kimi, of course, drove a Fiat in the Rally Finland. But I’ll let our intrepid F1Bers parse through the tenuous connections being made:

Kimi Raikkonen is rumoured to be leaving Ferrari at the end of the season to compete in the 2010 World Rally Championship.

The rumours are strengthened by the fact that both Fiat and Volkswagen have confirmed they will be entering the series next year. According to the Financial Times, Neil Duncanson, chairman of the TV company North One (who own the WRC series) has confirmed that Fiat and Volkswagen will be replacing Subaru and Suzuki.

Having tried his hand at WRC in a Fiat Punto earlier this year, it would not come as a shock to many if the Finnish driver chose to leave Ferrari a year early and make the move to WRB. Although Raikkonen is currently contracted to Ferrari until the end of 2010, many believe that the team may offer him a deal which would allow him to leave F1 and pave the way for Alonso to replace him. If rumours are to be believed, Ferrari have already offered the Spanish driver a £175 million contract to drive for Ferrari from 2010.

Raikkonen recently participated in Rally Finland. His Fiat Grande Punto suffered from engine trouble and although he eventually crashed out of the race, Raikkonen ended up finishing in 15th place and his performance was praised by many.

The beauty of this report is the phrases “rumours are strengthened by the fact that both Fiat and Volkswagen have confirmed they will be entering the series next year,” even though the FT didn’t report that; and “it would not come as a shock to many if the Finnish driver chose to leave Ferrari a year early and make the move to WRB.” Really? Not a shock? To whom, exactly?

Then again, until Free Practice No. 1 on Friday, it still is a slow news cycle, so what do you want?

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  • What better way to get rid of a driver you don’t want but is really good by sending him off to lead your WRC program so you can get a Spanish driver you really want. :)

    • There is an interesting little bit of neatness to it all, but still… and Ferrari HAS a Spanish driver. They could have put him in the seat already!

      • mark h

        a Spanish driver, yes, but not the Spanish driver.

  • Benalf

    see to believe

  • WFP

    Kimi is going to wait for Petter. Solberg is still unsure about next year but he has also been linked to the Abarth seat. If I was abarth I would wait for his decision. I am suprised the VW group is assumed to be the other. They have an irc challenger and I think Skoda is a little closer given the success they are having with their IRC ride but they are really still just thinking because the rule set for wrc are going to be a more modified s 2000. Will have an article up at the paddock tomorrow that will break down potential contenders.