Heikki Kovalainen: Finland's new superstar

Finland's Heikki Kovalainen burst into the news columns this week following his sensational hammering of world champions Michael Schumacher and Sebastien Loeb at last weekend's Race of Champions in Paris

Heikki Kovalainen: Finland's new superstar

But anyone who has followed the Finn's career will know that the 23-year-old's performance in France was no different to the stuff he has produced throughout his career. This year is case in point when the effervescent youngster dominated the Dallara World Series by Nissan championship taking the most wins, the most pole positions and the most fastest laps on his way to the title.

This is one cool cookie and now, with GP2 beckoning for next year the Finn hopes he is on his way to the top - Formula 1. He should certainly be there...



Not really to be honest! I knew I could do a good job against the other drivers, but it was difficult to predict. None of us knew what the circuit would be like, or the cars so I guess it's a good test of a driver's skill and their ability to adapt. I just wanted to push to the maximum and to have some fun at the same time.



It was great! Fantastic! I'll remember it for a long time, but it was just as good to beat David Coulthard and then Jean Alesi. For me the most rewarding part of the day was pipping WRC champion Sebastien Loeb in a rally car, I think that this was more of an achievement than beating Schumacher because Loeb drives these cars all the time.



I've always been pretty good at adapting well to a car, whatever it may be. I'm also quick to learn circuits, which helped me not only in the Race of Champions, but in the Nissan championship this year when we visited a lot of circuits that I hadn't raced at before.



They're both completely different. I think the Race of Champions was actually better because all the drivers had the same cars and we couldn't change their set-ups in any way. Also, the drivers I was up against were multiple world champions who have proved their skill in each of their disciplines, so I guess I had a better feeling after this.

As for the Nissan Championship, I really needed to win this. It was almost expected of me and was important for the furthering of my career. It wasn't easy, but our car was strong throughout the season, apart from a few not so good races.



I'm going to be in the new GP2 series next year, but I'm not sure with which team yet.



It's difficult to say. It depends really which team I'm with and how the car is. The good thing is that it's new for everybody. Hopefully I'll end up with a good team and if that's the case I know I'll be able to do a good job.



There are no plans at the moment, hopefully I'll be given more chances by the team as it's always a great experience and I learn more about the cars every time I drive them.



I hope my future is Formula 1, there's no question about it. I think I have a good chance to be there and I'm confident in my own ability, but ultimately it's up to Renault [who manage his career through the Renault Driver Development programme] where I go. So far they are happy with me, but I have to do well in GP2 next year and hopefully I'll get my F1 call-up!

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