The Pole will drive his Citroen DS3 RRC in the World Championship support category, WRC 2, where he will go up against a strong field of 17 entries that includes championship leader Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari (Fiesta RRC) and the man who dominated in Portugal, Esapekka Lappi (Skoda Fabia S2000).
After Thursday’s shakedown, Kubica talked exclusively to wrc.com about the Acropolis challenge ahead and how his switch to rallying was going.
Q: What did you think of the Acropolis stages when you drove them on the recce?
RK: “Well, I knew Greece is a special and demanding rally, but when I went to the recce I said, wow, this is much more than I expected. I didn’t expect the stages to be so varied. They were twisty, or narrow, or rough with big stones. Some were very soft and will become more like off-road after a few passes with huge lines [ruts]. It’s difficult to describe, but what I saw at shakedown was also quite amazing. It will be a tough rally, definitely tougher than I thought before coming here, but a good experience for me. I’m coming from flat, smooth circuits, so to see big rocks and big lines where the car is bottoming out is new and I have to get used to it.”
Q: How was shakedown?
RK: “So-so, I’d say. I don’t know, it was okay, but the performance was not ideal. We will see, but the rally is a different story. It’s going to be a big challenge for me and the important thing is to get to the finish and to do that we will have to take care of the car. It’s the first time that I’m starting a rally with this attitude - to take care of something. Normally, on the circuit, you just drive flat-out, or nearly flat-out. You are not avoiding stones. Here we will have to keep our eyes open in every situation – even on the straight roads. Actually, I already hit one big stone on the recce – it was in a second gear corner in the middle of the road and it broke the suspension. This kind of thing is new for me and difficult to predict.”
Q: Rally de Portugal and two other European events into your first rally season, what do you think of your performance so far?
RK: "Not so bad. It was a bit more difficult than I expected, but without experience it's very, very difficult. I have done a couple of mistakes, a couple of times we had technical problems with the car, but all in all, when everything is running okay, we are able to be quite competitive. So far all of the rallies I have done this year have different characteristics and it’s not easy. Every stage is new, every corner is new and there have been some surprises. I’m pretty happy though. I’m learning a lot and it’s getting stored in my brain. There is enough room to learn much more!”
Q: How are you feeling about tonight’s night stage?
RK: “I’ve driven in the night on tarmac but never on gravel. At our test we did a couple of runs in the night, but after you have learned the road, well, actually I went quicker in the night than in the day because I remembered the road. I hope not, but I think there might be a problem with the dust. In WRC 2 we are starting two minutes behind each other, while the WRC guys have a gap of four minutes. I expect that just two minutes might cause some issues with dust. Let’s hope the wind stays strong.”