Robert Kubica’s Wales Rally GB challenge – Photo | Red Bull Motorsports

1 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Robert Kubica’s Wales Rally GB challenge – Photo | Red Bull Motorsports
Citroen DS3

Robert Kubica’s Wales Rally GB challenge

It was a difficult introduction to driving WRC machinery for the ex-F1 racer in Wales last weekend.

Robert Kubica was up against it last weekend at Wales Rally GB. The former Formula One race winner was making his first outing in top-level WRC machinery, having already campaigned the less-powerful Citroen DS3 Regional Rally Car to the 2013 WRC2 title.

With a new co-driver to deal with in Wales as well, it’s fair to say it wasn’t a seamless transition for Kubica, with the Pole crashing not once but twice en route to an early exit from the event.

We take a look at the challenges Kubica faced.

Big change for Kubica

Not only was Kubica driving his Citroen DS3 WRC in competition for the first time on Wales Rally GB ; he was also working with new co-driver Michele Ferrara, who was drafted in at the eleventh hour to replace Maciek Baran, Kubica’s season-long partner. Baran stood down from competing after he and Kubica clinched the WRC2 title in Spain last month, leaving his fellow Pole to go in search of a replacement.

Kubica claimed the 2013 WRC2 title McKlein Image Database

Talking Italian again

After changing his pace notes from Italian to Polish for 2013, Kubica’s partnership with Italian Ferrara meant a change back to Italian for Wales Rally GB. While Kubica speaks the language fluently, the switch only added to the challenge. “It’s not easy after one year with somebody in the car speaking Polish. Pace notes have to go through the mind very quickly without being translated,” says Kubica.

The Pole’s second crash in Wales was attributed to a problem with the pace notes.

More power under his right foot

Kubica’s Citroen DS3 WRC puts out an extra 20bhp over the DS3 RRC, but it’s clear that more power wasn’t a worry for the ex-F1 man: “Not underestimating the car, but when you have driven most of your life much more powerful cars, I would say it’s not such a big problem. Things happen quicker but with more power it can be easier to drive on gravel.”

A World Rally Car means a beefy rear wing compared to what Kubica has experienced in his Regional Rally Car. Kubica: “Aerodynamics are not so important in rallying but when you get such a big wing it can change the cornering, especially on gravel.”

Kubica rolled his Citroen DS3 WRC in Wales McKlein Image Database

A new team and new colour scheme

Kubica’s change of cars for Wales Rally GB signalled a switch to the main factory team, having formerly been run by the Citroen-supported PH Sport squad. Kubica’s car was entered under the Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team banner, as opposed to Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team but it’s the same operation. The colour of his car was also new for Wales Rally GB. with the blue, red and silver replaced by the red, white and gold of chief backer Abu Dhabi.

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