In the second and final part of an honest and revealing interview with wrc.com, Robert Kubica talks about why his mistakes occurred and why he expected them to happen.
Robert Kubica is familiar with lapping race circuits at high speed, and he has no issues with tackling fifth and sixth gear bends in special stages. But slower corners are a different matter and he admits these are where most of his problems have come this season.
“Ninety per cent of my mistakes have happened in low-speed corners. This has been my big problem because for more than 20 years I’ve been used to driving open-wheel cars where you feel more speed. On gravel everything happens very slowly for my style, even compared to go-karts,” he said.
“When I drive low-speed corners, because I’m not used to them, someone is telling you opposite steering lock is time lost so you don’t want to have it. But on gravel you need it, to have more margins, and this is something I have to focus on. But there are so many things to focus on that in low speed corners I tend to forget. I drive too clean and I enter bends with no margin for error.”
Kubica’s understanding of his problems and his readiness to change indicates he is not afraid of the challenges ahead. They are issues similar to those faced by Kimi Räikkönen, the only other modern-day driver to move from F1 to WRC, and a smile breaks out across Kubica’s face at the mention of the Finn’s name.
“He’s the only other driver who has done what I’m doing and it’s not easy. I knew this year would be difficult, especially in the beginning. I was hoping not to crash so much but I did too many mistakes in the first part of the season. But I’m not scared of them, despite what people might think.
“Many people forget that I almost achieved the peak of motorsport in the world, because F1 is the highest category for competitiveness of drivers and teams. If you achieve that you have to understand what is necessary to achieve it, and how to analyse and pick up mistakes.
“I knew most of the mistakes would happen sooner or later but the problem is they happened in a row! There is no training like in football or tennis, every day they can practise. I practise in rallies and as soon as I do mistakes, everyone knows it. I have paid a high price for them. I still believe there will be better times and I don’t think it’s as drastic as it looks, but of course I’m not happy,” he says.
Kubica admits that at the end of last season he believed a second season in a WRC 2 car would be his choice for 2014.
“Then I spoke with two or three drivers and they said when you change to WRC, everything is again different. So I said ‘OK, so what’s the point of staying in WRC 2?’.
Call it impatience, call it determination, call it what you like. But Robert Kubica does not like standing still and while he still has to master the now, his sights are firmly set on the future.