Former F1 McLaren team-mates Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard were given an up-close look at rally action by the champ Kalle Rovanpera, an experience which Coulthard was “not sure I would call fun”.
As part of a piece for Unibet, Coulthard and Hakkinen reunited to head for Sardinia, where Hakkinen soon found out they were in for a rally-shaped surprise.
That was because 2022 World Rally Champion Kalle Rovanpera was waiting to welcome his compatriot Hakkinen and Coulthard, before then taking them for a spin on the gravel in the Toyota GR Yaris.
Hakkinen was first up, Rovanpera ignoring the repeated calls to slow down a bit, while Coulthard also had his nerves shredded and declared “I will never do that again!”
“That was an unbelievable experience. I’m not sure I would call it fun but it was like an out-of-reality experience with consequences,” Coulthard reflected.
“It was just the commitment in the high-speed corners.”
Hakkinen described how his children and pets were running through his mind as Rovanpera navigated the course.
“I was thinking about my children, but not only that, our f**king cat and the dog, I was missing the cat also,” said Hakkinen as he and Coulthard burst into laughter.
Hakkinen later likened the experience to jumping out of an aeroplane, only without the parachute!
“I had the feeling like I was jumping out of an aeroplane without a parachute,” said the two-time F1 World Champion. “You are going down and you can see the earth and you have nothing to stop you.”
Rovanpera then was the only one actually having some fun as he got the chance to scare his guests from the world of F1 out of their wits.
“It was super cool,” he told Autosport. “Together with Unibet we had this project and they were let’s say quite scared and excited to be in the car.
“It is quite different for circuit drivers to be in a rally car but that was their honest reaction, so it was funny for me and we have some more stuff to do with them that is coming which is cool also.”
Hakkinen and Coulthard then will be hoping that the next adventure does not involve rallying. Then again, as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.