Valtteri Bottas has successfully completed his first test at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta WRC car ahead of the Arctic Lapland Rally. The Finn follows in the footsteps of his compatriot Mika Hakkinen who also competed in the event.
Bottas will complete the rally ahead of winter testing for Mercedes. His co-driver Teemu Suninen has been a huge part of the learning experience for the F1 driver and Bottas was eager to thank those who had made it possible for him.
"It was about two years ago when the idea came into my mind that driving with a rally car could be a great experience," he admitted to Finnish news channel YLE.
"Last year I decided that next winter it would happen. Then we started to gather a team around us. Big thanks already to everyone involved and who gives their support for the project.
"This will be for sure a fun project for all and hopefully the results will also be OK."
Whilst he might be at home in an F1 car, the Mercedes man did admit to a few mistakes in his test runs but said he was confident of learning quickly under pressure.
"In every test, I have made a few mistakes and the shovel has been needed, but nothing serious, nothing like touching trees. For me, every turn and stage are new. And so are the conditions and the surface of the road which changes all the time and changes the grip.
"We'll start calmly, with speed that feels good to me. We will add more speed when I think I would be ready. We will, of course, drive with full force, but considering my current experience and skills."