The only other F1 driver who managed anything remotely similar was Carlos Reutemann, who won stages en route to two Rally Argentina podiums in the 1980s - but the Argentine’s appearances on his home event were strictly a regular one-off rather than part of a full-time change of disciplines.
In 2010 though, Raikkonen showed just how far he had come by winning a stage on only his ninth WRC event in a World Rally Car: ADAC Rallye Deutschland, en route to an impressive seventh overall with his Red Bull-backed Citroen.
Using all-asphalt stages, Germany’s WRC counter was perfectly suited to the Finn’s talents on a track. Another important aspect that played into his hands was the fact that the 4.37-kilometre stage he won was the Circus Maximus superspecial, which as the name suggests took place on a wide circuit around Trier's famous Porta Nigra Roman gate.
However, Raikkonen didn’t make too big a deal of his first stage win. “It was good but nothing special,” he pointed out in typically laconic fashion afterwards. “On these stages everyone is very close but our speed was good and the pace notes were right and that’s what made the difference.”
Interestingly, Raikkonen never believed that he had any kind of advantage on asphalt: instead his Formula One experience was often a hindrance. “Rally cars and Formula One cars are so different that there’s nothing you can really take from one to the other,” he pointed out. “So although people always expected me to do well on asphalt, sometimes it’s more difficult because the car doesn't always behave in the way it would on a circuit - which is what I am used to.”
Although he came close on a number of other occasions, the final stage of Rallye Deutschland remains Raikkonen's only WRC stage win. For now, at least.