M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson has compared new signing Robert Kubica’s determined approach to rallying to that of 2013 title runner-up Thierry Neuville.
Wilson’s team will run a Ford Fiesta RS WRC for the former F1 driver in this year’s World Rally Championship, which starts this week with Rallye Monte-Carlo. Neuville, meanwhile, heads to Hyundai for 2014, after a hugely impressive 2013 season at M-Sport.
“These days, drivers need to be a lot more focused, committed, dedicated and use technology to help them achieve their goals,” Wilson told wrc.com.
“Last year, as far as Thierry was concerned, there was nothing else in life apart from becoming a rally champion – and from what I’ve seen of Robert so far, he has a very similar approach that he’s brought with him from the highest level of sport.”
Wilson also revealed that Kubica, like Neuville, had already developed a good rapport with the wider team.
“Thierry was fantastic at getting the team to work with him, but from what I’ve seen Robert can take it a step further. They recently spent two nights in the workshop working on a special handbrake and Robert was there with the engineers and technicians until 11pm both nights. You need somebody like that in a team.”
Kubica still has limited strength in his right hand following his career-changing rally accident in 2011, so his Fiesta features two FIA-approved modifications to its cockpit controls.
The usual mechanical gear selector has been replaced with a pneumatic system, operated by a paddle-shift on the steering wheel. The speed of the changes has been matched to those of the manual system.
The second change relates to the handbrake, which is activated by pushing instead of pulling.