Kubica suffers early suspension failure in Mugello 12 Hours
Former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica saw his bid for a podium finish in the Mugello 12 Hours undone by an early suspension failure.
Kubica, tackling his first circuit race since the end of his grand prix career in 2010, put the MP Sports #777 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 third on the grid in qualifying.
After contact with the #32 Ferrari 458 GT of Rory Butcher at the start while battling for second, the Polish driver was shuffled down to fourth place - and was running there when he was forced into the pits by a suspension failure less than 15 minutes into the race.
"When I arrived into the braking of the last corner, the front-right suspension failed, so we had to pit in," Kubica said.
"I was lucky it happened there because, the next corner, after the long straight, it would be quite tough to keep the car on the track."
The suspension failure appears to have been caused by the earlier contact between Kubica and Butcher's Ferrari.
The Polish driver recalled: "I was nearly P2 into the first corner, then, I don't know, I think the Ferrari driver didn't see me. I took a very safe approach when I saw him.
"We touched twice - it's a 12-hour race, our priority was to gain experience. I knew I had a long stint in front of me, we were saving quite a lot of fuel and I was planning to go very long - but unfortunately, luck was not on our side."
Not the end
As of the time of writing, the #777 car has rejoined the race almost 20 laps down, piloted by team owner Martin Prokop.
"We are here to gain experience so I hope Martin can enjoy [the rest of the race], I will have some driving," Kubica said. "The weather is good, so [we'll] enjoy the weekend."
The duo will also be joined by Paul White and Tom Onslow-Cole, who were set to start the race in fifth but had to strike a deal to join the #777 crew after their own #30 Ram Racing Mercedes gave out.
Having now made a competitive return to circuit racing, Kubica remains unsure as to what his motorsport programme will comprise in the coming months.
"I don't know what the future will bring me," he said. "It's my first GT race, first endurance race, so there's a lot to learn, it's a completely different category from what I am used to driving.
"So as I say, we tried to gain as much experience - if we'll be doing in the future some move events or I'll be driving somewhere else... new things are always quite exciting and it's always nice to learn.
When asked whether his foray into endurance racing could lead to a Le Mans 24 Hours entry in a couple of years, he said: "I don't know what I'll be doing next week, so I don't know what I'll be doing in a couple of years' time!"
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