Formula 1 WRC

Kubica still hopes for “dream” F1 comeback

2014 WRC Rally France

Robert Kubica still holds out hope for a return to Formula 1, saying he will consider more corrective surgery to the arm he injured in a rally crash in February 2011.

Competing in the WRC this season Kubica said: “The arm and hand are okay. From a mobility point of view, there have been some improvements. From a limitation point of view, it’s pretty much the same.

“So I need to have more surgery—and there are possibilities—but it’s a tight season, there are many rallies and they are long events.”

Kubica, who turns 30 on 7 December, has previously said a return to F1 was “nearly impossible”. His most recent F1 race was the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“Formula 1 would be a dream to come back but we have to stay realistic,” Kubica added. “If I decide to try and come back I will have more surgery this winter and maybe with the help of the doctors, and with some luck, it will be possible.”

[Source: BBC]

Ford WRC

Robert Kubica already impressing M-Sport

Ford Fiesta RRC

Robert Kubica’s move to full-time WRC driver is looking good according to his new team, M-Sport, who are impressed with his dedication.

The 29-year-old Polish driver made a good impact last weekend after a winning debut with M-Sport in the European Rally Championship at the wheel of a Fiesta RRC (pictured above). Robert was competing in the Jänner Rallye in Austria as a warm up for his WRC duties. A late charge on the final stage on the back of an inspired tyre choice saw him overcome an 11.8 second deficit to claim victory.

“If you look at his performance at the weekend, it was very, very strong the whole way through and he saved the best for last,” said M-Sport team boss Malcolm Wilson. “He used what experience he’s got to make a fantastic tyre choice combination.”

Adding to the strong impression already made by Kubica is willingness to work with his new engineers.

“What’s really shocked me is the amount of dedication and commitment that he puts into it,” added Wilson. “As an example, with the restrictions on his arm, he was at the workshop till 11pm the other night working with the engineers to reconfigure the handbrake and gearshift mechanism.”

For the 2014 season, Maciej Szczepaniak will replace Kubica’s former co-driver Maciek Barran, who retired from rallying late last year.

Szczepaniak was beside Kubica for last weekend’s ERC win and with greater time together and more time in the Fiesta RS WRC Malcolm Wilson expects Kubica will improve as the 2014 season progresses.

“Some of the times he was doing in WRC2, nobody has got that close to World Rally Car pace in a regional car before,” Wilson said. “In the second half of the season with the Tarmac events he’s already done, he’s going to be really strong.”

[Source: Autosport | Pic: M-Sport]

Ford WRC

Robert Kubica secures full-time WRC drive for 2014

Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica said he wouldn’t return to rallying next year unless he could score a drive in a WRC car for all 13 races. And true to his word that’s exactly what he’ll be doing. The 29-year-old will be racing in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC prepared by M-Sport and carrying the branding of his long-time backer, the Polish oil company Lotos.

“I am really glad that I will participate in all 13 rounds of the World Rally Championship with the Fiesta RS WRC,” Robert said. “The support of my partner, Lotos Group, combined with the knowledge and experience of M-Sport will create a solid foundation for my further development and I am looking forward to gathering valuable experience on the WRC stages.”

It’s fair to say Kubica’s single WRC outing at Wales Rally GB with Citroën was a bit of a disaster, but winning five out of his seven races on the way to collecting the WRC2 championship proves he has the talent to forge a meaningful career in the sport.

“You only have to look at the way Robert prepared for the 2013 season to see what it all means to him,” said M-Sport owner Malcolm Wilson. “He has a desire and a hunger which you don’t see in many drivers and I truly believe that M-Sport can offer him all the right tools to move forward in rallying.”

We’d love nothing more than to see Kubica standing on the WRC podium next year. We also hope his participation in the WRC helps boost the profile and interest in what is one of motorsport’s most interesting and exciting categories.

Citroen WRC

VIDEO: Robert Kubica crashes out of Wales Rally GB

Robert Kubica, Citroen DS3 WRC, Wales Rally GB

Robert Kubica’s debut in a WRC car hasn’t gone to plan, being forced to retire from the event after crashing out twice.

The new WRC2 champion was on the back foot from the start of the event after his co-driver, Maciek Baran, retired prior to Wales Rally GB. Kubica and Citroën drafted in Michele Ferrara to join the Pole, which brought with it the added difficulty of having his notes read to him in Italian.

It’s not really surprising to learn that misunderstandings with pace notes have been blamed for Kubica’s two accidents. In the first accident, on Friday morning (see video below), Robert’s car suffered only minor damage and he was able to re-start the rally from 36th place on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, on SS11 Kubica went off again and was forced to retire.

It’s been an awful weekend for Citroën with Mikko Hirvonen also crashing out of the event after suffering heavy impact into a muddy bank on Day 1. The crash was blamed on an error from his co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen and the resulting blow left the interior of the DS3 WRC and both crew covered in mud.

Dani Sordo is the sole remaining driver for Citroën with one day left to run in the rally. Sadly for Dani his rally was compromised from the start after being given a five minute penalty for the team using its ninth chassis for the year.

You won’t be surprised to learn that Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala are fighting for the win in their Volkswagen Polo R WRCs. We’ll bring you a full update after the rally is over.

Formula 1 WRC

Formula 1 return “nearly impossible” says Kubica

2013 Rallye de France-Alsace

On the eve of his debut in a WRC car Robert Kubica says a return to Formula 1 following injuries sustained in a rally crash in February 2011 remains a dream for him, even though he says such an outcome is unlikely.

“It’s a dream, a target, but for now, it’s very difficult, I would say nearly impossible,” Robert told the BBC when asked about a return to F1. “I will never take the opportunity if I don’t feel 100% ready. If one day things improve, for sure we will see. For now, I am concentrating on rallying.”

Kubica still has an open diary for 2014 and after wrapping up the WRC2 championship last month a full-time rally gig would seem a natural progression.

“Driving on gravel is very demanding. There are lots of movements on the steering wheel which put a lot of stress on my arm and my hand,” he said. “If I stay in rallying next year, I would like to do a whole season. But to do all the rallies in one year is quite a big challenge.”

A successful outing for Citroën in Wales Rally GB this weekend might begin to offer some clarity for next year. For now Kubica says he doesn’t have the strength to race a single-seater. Although, he isn’t ruling out a return to the track, where he has previously tested a Mercedes-Benz DTM car.

“One option is to come back to circuit racing. For sure, it won’t be single-seaters, but I haven’t got it clear in my mind what I will do.”

[Source: BBC]

Citroen WRC

Robert Kubica wins WRC2 championship

2013 Rallye de Espana

Robert Kubica and Maciek Baran secured the WRC2 championship with their class victory at the 2013 Rally de Espana. Kubica dominated the category winning five of the seven rallies he entered.

“Perhaps you’ll think that this result has been easily obtained,” the former F1 driver said. “But I can assure you that it has been difficult from start to finish!

“When I began my season in Portugal, it was my first rally on gravel and I had to come up with answers to the hundreds of questions I had. After that, every event was totally different to the ones that went before, including those on tarmac.

“I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this success, starting with Citroën Racing, PH Sport and my partner Lotos, without whom I wouldn‘t be here today.”

Robert will end his competitive season at the wheel of a DS3 WRC in Rally Wales GB next month. It’s a job interview for his 2014 program, of sorts. Kubica wants to remain open to the possibility of a comeback to circuit racing and says he will only continue in rallying if he can secure a full program in a WRC car.

Citroen WRC

Robert Kubica earns WRC drive in Wales Rally GB

2013 Rallye de France-Alsace

Former F1 driver Robert Kubica is on track to win the WRC2 world championship. Driving a Citroën DS3 RRC he’s won for of the six events he’s entered this year and needs only a second place finish in the Rally RACC Catalunya to secure the title.

Unsurprisingly, his excellent results have not gone unnoticed, and with the goodwill of Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi and the blessing of the Citröen World Rally Team, Robert will drive a DS3 WRC at the season-ending Wales Rally GB in mid-November.

Kubica and co-driver Maciek Baran, will drive Khalid Al Qassimi’s car who will stand aside from the event to make provide the opportunity.

“This one-off outing for the works team is a great opportunity for me, but it’s also a huge challenge,” revealed Robert. “Wales Rally GB wasn’t part of my original programme, so I’m very happy to be able to have this precious experience. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my partners, and especially the Lotos Group and Citroën Racing for having made this possible.”

Earlier this year Robert said his sights were firmly set on securing a return to Formula 1, we wonder if the promise of a full-time WRC drive, were it to be offered, would make him reconsider his career ambitions?

Citroen WRC

Robert Kubica wins again in WRC2

Robert Kubica, Citroen DS3 RRC

The popular former F1 driver Robert Kubica has continued his rise in the rallying community by taking out the WRC2 category at Rally d’Italia. He finished ninth outright in his Citroën DS3 RRC and was over four minutes ahead of his nearest WRC2 competitor.

It’s Kubica’s second victory in WRC2 and backs up his win at the Acropolis Rally earlier this month. Kubica set the early pace but lost some time on the first day after a minor off saw him damage the rear of his car. He soon put things right again, re-establishing his control before recording a comfortable victory.

“Obviously, I’m pleased to win again at an event that is completely different to Greece,” said Kubica. “Every day I spend in the DS3 RRC gives me a bit more experience. I feel good about my driving, but also about my understanding of the road surface and the reactions of the car.

“It wasn’t easy all the time, as we did have a few problems that are specific to gravel rallies, such as the dust. It was a good learning experience to drive in conditions like these, but I didn’t enjoy it at all because of the danger involved.”

The 28-year-old Pole sits fourth in the WRC2 championship, after competing in only three out of seven events. If he continues the rapid rate of improvement shown to date he may well give the front runners a shake for the title. Perhaps Robert’s longer-term future may lie in the gravel and not on super smooth F1 circuits?

[Source: Citroën WRC]

Citroen WRC

Robert Kubica wins first WRC2 event

Robert Kubica wins WRC2 Acropolis Rally

A quick shout out to Robert Kubica who won the WRC2 category at the Acropolis Rally on the weekend. It’s just his second WRC2 start, which is for near-production spec 4WD showroom cars.

Driving a Ctiroën DS3 RRC the 28-year-old Pole took the rally lead on the opening stage and never looked back, dominating throughout the event and easing himself to a win of almost 90 seconds.

“Yes, it’s a great day for me”, Kubica said after his win. “For sure, it has been a very, very difficult weekend. I think Acropolis is an extremely tough rally, especially for someone like me who has twenty years’ experience of racing on a circuit! It’s the total opposite of what I have been used to.

“There are many things for me to learn still, but it has been a great learning experience and a very productive weekend. I’m now looking forward to Rally Sardegna, where I can put what I have learned this weekend to good use.”

[Source: Citroën WRC]

Formula 1

It’s F1 or bust says Robert Kubica

2010 Australian Grand Prix

Almost 1000 days have passed since Robert Kubica last stood on a Formula 1 podium (2010 Belgian Grand Prix), but success in the world’s premier open wheel category is what he craves the most.

“For me, now, the priority is to get as fit as I can,” Kubica told Autosport. “I’m not able to come back into single-seaters at the moment, and my vision is not to come back in saloon cars on the circuit at this stage.”

Kubica, of all people, knows life offers no guarantees and has already declined an offer to race for Mercedes in DTM. He doesn’t categorically rule out racing in tintops or other formulae in the future. Right now he thinks rallying is the best way forward as he continues to rebuild strength in the right arm he severely injured in 2011.

“Maybe one day in the future I will race in DTM or GT or whatever, because I will feel that it’s the right moment. I’m still young, I think I can still achieve something in motorsport, I will try my best.”

“There is not any guarantee, there is no percentage to say whether I will come back or not, but it’s also not 100 per cent that I will not be back in F1. I will try my best.

“I have been through a difficult period, and I’d say it’s an easier period now, I am enjoying myself, but it is still not a totally easy period for me, because I’d definitely prefer to be in F1 driving, 100 per cent fit. The reality is different.

“Now I need a little bit of everything—a little bit of luck and motivation, which I think I have, and to keep working so maybe I have the chance to get back to where I was before the accident.”

For now, the closest Kubica has come to reviving his F1 career is a test in the Mercedes simulator. We’re sure we speak on behalf of all AUSmotive’s readers by wishing Robert the best of luck in his F1 fightback.

[Source: Autosport]

Motorsports News

Robert Kubica reveals F1 return unlikely

Robert Kubica

While driving an old WRC-spec Citroën C4 in the Rally di Como in Italy, Robert Kubica has revealed he is currently unable to drive single seater racecars, making a return to Formula 1 virtually impossible.

In a brief interview from Reuters posted to the BBC Sport website, Kubica said his focus is to get his “health and body back into the best condition.”

The former F1 driver will turn 28 in early December and stated he still hopes to compete in “high-level championships in rally or on a circuit.” However, “big limitation” to the movement of his right arm, injured in February 2011, means single seaters are not on his radar for now.

This is one of the sadder stories from F1 in recent times. All things being equal you’d think a fit and able Kubica would have already notched up a couple of wins at the wheel of the Lotus E20.

[Source: BBC]

Formula 1 Motorsports Subaru

Robert Kubica wins comeback rally in Italy

Robert Kubica

Former Lotus (nee Renault) F1 driver Robert Kubica returned to the winner’s circle in his competition comeback in Italy on the weekend. Competing in the in the Ronde Gomitolo di Lana rally, it was his first competitive event since he badly injured himself in the Ronde di Andora rally back in February last year.

At the wheel of a Subaru Impreza WRC Kubica and co-driver, Giuliano Manfredi, were first on all four stages to win the event by almost one minute. You can see some highlights via YouTube after the break.

The successful comeback run is a great boost to Kubica’s recovery and comes a little over a week since it was reported he tested a Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

[via Autosport]