Monday | 08 Dec 2014

2014 Highlights: Kubica's Monte

Throughout December on we are presenting our WRC highlights of 2014. Up first, in eighth place, we remember Robert Kubica’s astonishing racing start to Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Rewind to January, the opening day of the Monte, and Kubica fever is gripping the service area. Thanks to his F1 pedigree the Pole was always expected to be quick on asphalt, but after two stages he had streaked into a massive lead – 36.8sec ahead of defending champion Sebastien Ogier.

The fact that it was Kubica’s first rally in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC alongside new co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak made the acheivement even more impressive.

Pre-rally, Kubica admitted that he set himself a personal target of setting one fastest stage time during the course of the season. Amazingly, he set two on the opening brace of stages – somehow managing to find grip in unexpectedly snowy conditions in a car shod with asphalt tyres.

Kubica had a lead of 36.8sec after the second stage.

A decision not to take snow tyres in the afternoon dropped him to fourth, but by SS5 he was back up to second, and was still in the thick of the podium battle the next day when his fairytale start came to an abrupt end in a ditch on SS9.

However he had already impressed a lot of people by then – including M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson. “Robert demoralised everyone when they were all on the same tyres,” he said.

“I think that when we get to the asphalt rallies in the second half of the season and Robert has got more experience, he’ll definitely be challenging for wins. I have no doubt about that,” he added.

Sadly the rest of the season failed to live up to the Monte promise, but there’s no denying that at Rallye Monte-Carlo Kubica showed he has the potential to take on the best in the world.

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Kubica's Monte - the highs

Kubica's Monte - the low