New Lotus Driver Kovalainen linked to Arctic Rally drive

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    New Lotus Driver Kovalainen linked to Arctic Rally drive

    Post by Mike on 16th December 2009, 04:53

    Recently signed Lotus Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen has been linked to a drive on the Arctic Rally, using a Proton Satria Neo S2000.

    Lotus is owned by Proton and the Finn was present at the Malaysian firm's Kuala Lumpar headquarters on Tuesday this week, where he sat in the Satria Neo S2000. Sources close to Proton have admitted a Kovalainen entry on next month's Rovaniemi-based event has been talked about.

    If it does come off, this would offer Finnish rally fans the mouth-watering prospect of seeing Kovalainen competing against Kimi Raikkonen - the latter making his first public appearance in a Citroen C4 on the snow event.

    Kovalainen is a big rally fan and has already tested a Citroen C4 WRC, when he and Sebastien Loeb swapped cars for a publicity stunt in 2007.

    AUTOSPORT's source said: "Heikki is here to drive in Formula 1. That's why he was in Malaysia. But, maybe there is a chance for the rally car. He went and sat in the car and he was very excited about it.

    "It would be a great story, but at the moment no discussions have taken place at all. He would need permission, the rally is dangerous, there is a lot of speculation on this - and that's all it is right now. Nothing is agreed."

    The Satria Neo S2000, built in Britain by MEM, was in Malaysia for Alister McRae to complete a series of demonstration runs for the Proton board of directors. Once the Scot had completed his driving in a forest stage around the Sepang circuit, the car was taken to Proton's centre of excellence, where Kovalainen asked to see it and then sit in it.

    MEM team principal Chris Mellors said: "Heikki was very interested in the rally car and it would be great if we could put something together [for the Arctic Rally]."

    Mellors confirmed there would be a car available for the F1 star, should the deal come together.

    "I'm sure that wouldn't be a problem," said Mellors.

    The Satria Neo S2000 recently collected its best ever finish, when McRae placed the car second on the final round of last year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the Rally of Scotland.



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