Vettel: Move to WRC would be 'huge challenge'

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F1 retiree Sebastian Vettel has always taken a keen interest in the World Rally Championship, and while he didn't dismiss the idea of one day competing in the series, the German admitted that it would be "a huge challenge".

Vettel is taking part in this weekend's Race of Champions that is held once again in Pite Havsbad, Sweden on a dedicated ice and snow circuit located just 100 kilometers form the Arctic Circle.

The former Aston Martin F1 driver will be spending most of his weekend drifting, sliding and manhandling the ROC's various machines, hoping to do just as well as he did in 2022 when he finished runner-up to rally legend Sebastien Loeb in the individual challenge.

"I have a huge admiration for rally drivers I think it’s an incredible skill," Vettel said, speaking to the media on Friday.

"Obviously, this is a tiny glimpse of what it might feel [like] 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 for whatever might happen, they have the right fitting tool.

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

In the wake of his announcement from F1 last summer, Vettel was often questioned about where his passion for motorsport would take him next.

The four-time F1 World Champion is a fan of rallying, so there has been some speculation that Vettel could follow in the footsteps of his good friend Kimi Raikkonen and join the ranks of the WRC as the Finn did back in 2010.

"I think the drivers are great; they don’t get the limelight they deserve," he said.

"F1 like I said before is very popular, rallying is popular but maybe more in the Nordic countries but [rallying] deserves to be more popular around the world because the skill is incredible and the discipline as well, it’s very different as a sport.

"So, I don’t know I think it would be a lot of work but maybe something after a while, if it starts to itch, it would be very different, it would be a huge challenge.

"I always did [follow WRC] a little bit, not the sector spit, but usually the rallies and the stages and there has obviously been a lot of young kids coming up.

"I remember the days when Petter [Solberg] was winning and competing. So yeah, it’s not like I grew up with rallying but somehow, I always did.

"I always admire the fact you go so fast without curbs and track limits and just whatever is next to you doesn’t matter, whatever the terrain, whatever the conditions. So it’s a huge fascination."

On Saturday, Vettel will join forces with Mick Schumacher to represent Team Germany in the ROC's Nations Cup for the third time in the event's history.

The 35-year-old will then take on a impressive field of stars in Sunday's individual event. Participants include Mika Hakkinen and Valtteri Bottas, David Coulthard and Jamie Chadwick, Norwegian chargers Petter and Oliver Solberg, but also Tom Kristensen, Felipe Drugovich, IndyCar ace Felix Rosenqvist, WRC star Thierry Neuville and five-time FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson.

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