F1 ACE KUBICA STEPS UP TO WRC CITROEN

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F1 ACE KUBICA STEPS UP TO WRC CITROEN

WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2013 - WRC RALLY PORTUGAL

(15/10/2013)  FORMER grand prix driver Robert Kubica’s developing rally career has earned him his first drive in the top-flight World Rally Car category on Wales Rally GB next month.

In recognition of his successful debut season in the WRC2 series, Kubica and his co-driver Maciek Baran will drive Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi’s works-specification Citroen DS3 WRC.

The Abu Dhabi driver said he felt Kubica deserved an opportunity to prove his potential after winning four of six WRC2 rounds he has contested this year in a Citroen DS3 RRC.

Currently leading the WRC2 standings, 28-year-old Kubica will be trying to seal his first world title later this month at Rally RACC Catalunya.

Citroën Racing Team Principal Yves Matton said Kubica had already done enough to progress to the next level.

“In my discussions with Robert, we agreed that he would move up to the next category if he won the WRC2 title. It’s true that as things stand, he hasn’t won the title. But even if he doesn’t win it in Spain, he has still had a very successful season,” Matton said.

“He is therefore perfectly entitled to have a go at Wales Rally GB. There is no doubt that his motivation and professional attitude mean he can set his sights on securing a good result.”

Kubica said: “This one-off outing for the works team is a great opportunity for me, but it’s also a huge challenge.

“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 for this season, who have made this possible.”

Al Qassimi said Kubica’s performance this season made him a worthwhile choice for the seat.

“Robert’s fine results this year are down to his hard work and determination. We know he will do a great job in representing the Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team.”

Kubica drove in F1 for BMW Sauber and Renault between 2006 and 2010, winning the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix. He signed for Lotus Renault for 2011, but within days of a pre-season test in the team’s new car suffered serious arm and hand injuries during a minor rally.

While determined to return to F1 after he recovers fully, Kubica has made a strong impression on the rally world, arguably enjoying more success than did Kimi Raikkonen during his hiatus from F1 in 2010-2011.

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.