Kubica completes a challenging Swedish debut

Despite finishing the event in 24th place, the Pole was able to develop his knowledge and experience of the unfamiliar surface.

Kubica completes a challenging Swedish debut

Rally Sweden provided a host of challenges for Robert Kubica and Maciej Szczepaniak. Contesting the snow-covered stages for the first time behind the wheel of their RK M-Sport World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC, the week was not without incident. Despite finishing the event in 24th place, the Pole was able to develop his knowledge and experience of the unfamiliar surface.

Robert Kubica and Maciek Szczepaniak, Ford Fiesta WRC
Robert Kubica and Maciek Szczepaniak, Ford Fiesta WRC

Photo by: M-Sport

As the FIA World Rally Championship’s only true winter rally, the chance for a driver to test his skills on snow comes around just once a year.

Continuing to advance as one of the series’ most promising up-and-coming talents, it was paramount that Kubica made it through all 24 speed tests.

Mission accomplished, he made the most of the opportunity – discovering the limits and characteristics of the specialist stages.

Having made a strong start, Kubica was on course for a points-paying finish. Unfortunately, his hard work was undone through the second pass of Friday’s classic stages. Becoming engulfed in the soft snow banks, the Pole twice lost 10 minutes to the leaders having to free his Fiesta from their grasp. Yet determined to improve, he wasn’t going to let the elements stand in the way of his discovering all that the stages had to offer.

The popular Pole faced a new challenge over the final day of competition. Running as the first car on the road, Kubica had to contend with the rally’s most challenging conditions. Far removed from the event’s traditional hard ice and compacted snow, unpredictable grip and treacherous corners were the order of the day. Despite losing another three minutes with a third brush with the white barriers, the Pole instrumented a steady improvement in pace.

Bringing his Fiesta home, Kubica may not have achieved the points-paying position he was capable of, but the knowledge and experience gained will be invaluable in years to come.

Another fresh challenge now waits. Bidding farewell to Sweden’s cold climate, Kubica will next tackle the blistering heat and high-altitude of Rally Mexico’s gravel tracks in three weeks’ time.

Robert Kubica (24th): “Finally we got to the end, that was our target but unfortunately without mistakes. I made a stupid mistake yesterday with an awkward landing after a jump. After that it became even more difficult. I made two mistakes which were a little bit crazy. By driving slowly and carefully I don’t drive like I should be and have more moments and more mistakes than when I’m driving fast.

“It’s been a really difficult event, and I’ve gained a lot of experience which can only help us in the future. I have to say that I was looking forward to finishing this rally, and we have done that. Of course not in the way we would have liked to, but a finish is a finish and the experience is the same.

“When we were in good shape and driving fast I think we were having a good rally, especially considering the conditions. We made mistakes, but I know the reasons for them so now we just need to reset and focus on Mexico.”

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE: “I’m sure this is a rally that Robert [Kubica] would most likely want to forget, but it has been invaluable to his development. I know he will be disappointed, but in his defence this has been the most difficult Swedish rally that I can remember. To come here with no previous experience on snow, I think he’ll go away, reflect, and realise that he has learnt a lot from this weekend.”

RK M-Sport World Rally Team

shares
comments
A solid performance from M-Sport in Sweden

Previous article

A solid performance from M-Sport in Sweden

Next article

Latvala claims third Rally Sweden

Latvala claims third Rally Sweden
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Prime

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
Home hero Neuville delivers overdue WRC success for Hyundai in Belgium Prime

Home hero Neuville delivers overdue WRC success for Hyundai in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Prime

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Prime

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021