This weekend Kimi Raikkonen and Charles Pic were the headline acts in a very special event co-organised by Renault: the ‘Race of Stars’, a unique activity staged in Moscow, Russia.
Kimi and Charles, who drive for the Renault-powered Lotus F1 Team and Caterham F1 Team respectively, took to a track covered entirely with ice within Moscow’s Hippodrome, which is usually reserved for horse racing and other equestrian activities. The two competed in races organized in conjunction with Za Rulem, one of Russia’s most popular automotive magazines, in specially adapted Renault Duster, the all-terrain, lightweight 4x4 cars from the French marque, and Logan cars.
The Race of the Stars is one of the longest-running motorsports events staged in Russia, with 23 editions to date. The concept of the race is simple; all competing drivers (selected from various motorsport disciplines in Russia and beyond) take part in qualifying, after which the racers are divided into four test groups. After four 15-minute semi finals, the grand finale is a three-loop sprint around the arena. The winner of this event was then pitted against Kimi and Charles to decide the ultimate winner.
Some of the biggest names in the discipline have competed in the event, including four-times world champion Alain Prost, F1 race winner David Coulthard and Kimi’s team-mate, Romain Grosjean – all of whom have been powered, or continued to be powered by Renault, in their careers.
Kimi already has significant experience of driving on ice; and not just from his days back in Finland. The 2007 F1 drivers’ world champion competed in the FIA World Rally Championship for two seasons, with entries into the Arctic and Sweden rallies in 2010 and 2011. After showing impressive form, the Iceman finished the 2011 Swedish rally in eighth overall.
For Charles, this was his first foray into ice driving.
Speaking after the event, Kimi Raikkonen said, ‘It was good to be back on an ice track after a while away. It made a change from Barcelona and my regular F1 car! You need a very different driving style on ice – you have to be very smooth on the throttle and brakes and feed the steering in. But a small drift can also be pretty fun… I enjoyed it, particularly seeing so many fans out here.’
Charles added, ‘I enjoyed the day with Renault and it was cool to be part of such a big event. This was my first time driving on ice and it was great fun. I tried out the Renault Duster, which was fitted with snow tyres. It was an experience and tricky to find the grip on the slippery surface. Then I tried out the Logan with the studded tyres and it was even harder! It took a few laps to get up to speed but once I got used to it I enjoyed it. Thanks to Renault and everyone who came out in the cold to see the event!’
Photos of the event are available from the Renault Sport F1 media site http://media.renaultsportf1.com