Friday | 15 Aug 2014

Germany countdown: one to watch

Next week’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland (21-24 August) is the first true asphalt rally of the season. That’s good news for Poland’s Robert Kubica. Here’s why we think he’ll ruffle more than a few feathers…

His motorsport background

Kubica started racing on asphalt at the age of 10. He then progressed through the junior single-seater ranks before success in the Formula Renault 3.5 series landed him at the door of the Renault F1 team in 2005.

To put it simply, Kubica has spent almost his entire career racing on asphalt and his talents took him to the very top of the motorsport ladder. Kubica knows better than anyone else on the Rally Deutschland entry list how to be fast on asphalt.

Mastering the Monte (nearly)

The closest the WRC crews have come to asphalt so far this season was the sealed-surface stages at Rallye Monte-Carlo. But the wet, icy and snowy weather conditions prohibit that from being called a true asphalt event. It made no odds to Kubica. He used his Ford Fiesta RS WRC to good effect and raced into the lead on the first two stages in Monte. He was the class act early on and his lead stood at 36.8s after two tests. Kubica’s form didn’t last as he crashed out on a patch of black ice three stages later but he’d already made his mark by then.

Team confidence

M-Sport has been impressed with Kubica ever since the reigning WRC 2 Champion walked into the team’s factory at the end of 2013. Nobody is a bigger fan than team principal, Malcolm Wilson.

He knows Kubica has the skill set to be a major force in the WRC – experience permitting. Speaking to after Rallye Monte-Carlo, Wilson predicted: “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.”

Recent successes

Kubica’s build up to Rally Deutschland started successfully last month. He contested Italy’s Rally Internazionale del Casentino – an asphalt rally in Tuscany – and won 10 out of the 12 stages. He took victory by more than two-and-a-half minutes. It was his first outright win in WR Car machinery and will have given him a decent amount of self-belief heading to Germany.

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