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Vettel reveals “huge” admiration for rally drivers

Four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel says he has a “huge” admiration for rally drivers and believes they don’t get the limelight they deserve.

Sebastian Vettel, Team Germany

The recently retired F1 driver discussed his fascination of rallying ahead of this weekend’s Race of Champions in Sweden, where he will compete alongside World Rally Championship drivers past and present in Sebastien Loeb, Thierry Neuville, Petter Solberg and Oliver Solberg.

Vettel revealed that he regularly follows the WRC and is in awe of the skills required to compete in the discipline.

The winner of 53 grands prix called time on his F1 career at the end of last season, but has previously hinted that rallying could be something he would like to try in the future.

“I have a huge admiration for rally drivers. I think it’s an incredible skill,” said Vettel.

“This is a tiny glimpse of what it might feel to do a rally but it feels like I arrive with a screwdriver and a hammer, like two tools whereas they arrive to Turn 1 with the whole toolbox set, equipped with whatever might happen, they have the right fitting tool.

“I think it’s a great sport. There is the racing element and the skill, but it’s very different in many ways.

“[Rally] a great sport, a great skill. I think the drivers are great. They don’t get the limelight they deserve.

“F1 as I said earlier is very popular, rallying is popular, but maybe more in the Nordic countries, but it deserves to be very popular around the world because the skill is incredible.

“The discipline as well is very different as a sport.

“It would be a lot of work but maybe something [to try] after a while that if it [not competing anymore] starts to itch…it would be a great challenge.”

Sebastian Vettel, Team Germany

Sebastian Vettel, Team Germany

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

Asked if he follows the WRC, he said: “Yeah, I always did a little bit.

“Not every sector split, but usually the rallies and the stages, and there’s been a lot of young kids coming up.

“And I remember the days, sorry Petter [Solberg, present at the press conference] when Petter was winning and competing.

“So it’s not like I grew up with rallying, but somehow I always did and just admired that you go so fast without kerbs and track limits and just whatever is next to you doesn’t matter sort of thing. So whatever the terrain, whatever the conditions. Yeah a huge fascination.”

Should Vettel opt for a foray into rallying in the future, he wouldn’t be the first F1 driver to do so. Kimi Raikkonen, his former team-mate at Ferrari, chalked up 22 WRC starts from 2009-2011, scoring a best result of fifth at Rally Turkey in 2010.

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