The Pole (pictured) has scored maximum points in three of his five outings to date, but trails his Qatari rival by 17 points having tackled one rally less in his Citroen DS3 RRC. With Al Kuwari absent, a strong result in north-east France will propel Kubica back to the head of the title race.
Kubica and Al Kuwari are the only two drivers still able to lift the inaugural WRC 2 crown. After this weekend both have only one nominated round remaining in which to add to their points tally so Kubica cannot afford any mistakes on his favoured asphalt.
His closest challenger is likely to be Elfyn Evans at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5. The Welshman pushed Kubica hard on the asphalt of Rallye Deutschland in August, when their pace carried both of them into the top six overall.
Ricardo Trivino, in a Subaru Impreza, and Rashid Al Ketbi, driving a Fiesta R5, could both boost their championship placings. Mexican Trivino is seventh while Al Ketbi, from the United Arab Emirates, is three places and 11 points behind.
After an early exit in Germany, Tunnock’s World Rally Team’s Robert Barrable seeks better fortune this weekend in another Fiesta R5. The car’s 1.6-litre turbocharged engine has been rebuilt and a test confirmed all is well.
“The test in Northern Ireland went very well,” said Irishman Barrable. “We wanted to make sure everything was okay with the rebuilt engine, and it was also a great opportunity for me to drive again at night, as the final stage on Saturday will be run in the dark.”
Eleven crews are nominated for points here, but Venezuelan duo Carlos Fessman and Alex Gelvez, who were entered in Mitsubishi Lancers, will not start.