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Raikkonen to quit F1 for WRC

Reuters - Fri, 27 Nov 19:28:00 2009

Finland's 2007 Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen is close to agreeing a deal with Citroen to compete in the world rally championship next year.

..The official WRC website said nothing was signed yet but quoted a source close to the former McLaren and Ferrari driver saying only small details remained to be tied up before an official announcement.

It said the 13 race programme was believed to be funded by energy drink company Red Bull, a Citroen sponsor who also have their own Formula One teams.

Citroen could offer Raikkonen a competitive car, with Frenchman Sebastien Loeb taking the rally world title for the past six years.

Raikkonen had said he was planning to take a year out of Formula One after being replaced at Ferrari by Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso and failing to reach an agreement with McLaren.

The Finn has made it clear he would not race for a Formula One team that could not offer him a chance of fighting for the championship, but his management have said they are open to offers from Mercedes.

Mercedes have taken over champions Brawn and still have a vacancy alongside young German Nico Rosberg after world champion Jenson Button went to McLaren.

Raikkonen, 30, has previous world rally championship experience having competed in this year's Finnish round in a Fiat after also entering three non-championship events.

Red Bull, Formula One runners-up this season, could also have a seat for him in Formula One in 2011 with Australian Mark Webber out of contract at the end of next term.
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