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Wednesday, December 18
Hakkinen set for Arctic Rally
"Let's see how this rally is going to go. It will definitely give me more of an idea for what it feels like," the retired formula one driver said as he finished his second day of training on the frozen Kemijoki river in the north of Finland.
"If I am in the top two, then probably I will do more (rally driving)," Hakkinen told Reuters.
Hakkinen, world champion with McLaren in 1998 and 1999, confirmed his retirement from Formula One racing in July after taking a season off to spend more time with his family.
The 34-year-old will drive a Mitsubishi Lancer in the Arctic Rally in the north of Finland on January 24 and 25. The rally begins and ends in the town of Rovaniemi in the Arctic Circle.
Hakkinen will practice for a third day in Rovaniemi, then take a break for the Christmas and New Year holidays and return for more training in January.
The Finn said he had had a great time with the team and enjoyed the driving.
"I had plenty of time to just spin the car and try the limits," he said. "It was a good day today."
The Arctic rally was more or less his first experience with a rally car, Hakkinen said.
"This car feels fun to drive because you have very long metal spikes in the tires so we were able to maximise a very fine grip on the ice."
"It is really interesting to push the car to the limit and go maximum sideways on the ice."
Hakkinen, who notched up 20 Grand Prix victories in 161 races during his 11-year F1 career, has said he always wanted to try rally racing but that he had no intention of starting a second career.
The basic idea of competing and putting the car to the maximum was the same as in F1, but the major difference was driving in snow, Hakkinen said.
Finns have won most of the world rallying championships since the series started in the late 1980s, with Marcus Gronholm the reigning champion.
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