(28/10/2013) THWARTED in his Formula 1 career, Polish driver Robert Kubica has become a World Rally Champion, wrapping up the WRC2 with victory on the weekend’s Rally de Espana.
Driving a Citroen DS3 RRC, Kubica dominated the Spanish mixed-surface event from the first stage to win by 5min 15.8sec from Saudi Arabian Yazeed Al Rajhi.
It was the fifth win for Kubica in his debut WRC2 season. With an unassailable lead in the championship, he will use the final round in Wales next month to take his next career step with a try-out in one of the official Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team’s full-spec DS3 WRC cars.
“This wasn’t the target at the start of the season, but somehow I knew that if I was able to learn quickly on gravel I could do a good result,” Kubica said of his WRC2 title.
“I was pretty sure that on tarmac I was quite competitive but the rallies in the World Rally Championship are completely different to each other.
“In the end we managed five wins and one second place from the six rallies that count for the championship – so all good.”
Kubica drove in Formula 1 for BMW Sauber and Renault between 2006 and 2010, winning the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix and earning praise as a future champion.
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. He has not been able to race since then.
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 time as a Citroen WRC privateer in 2010-2011.