Monday 21 November 2016

FIA WEC: Successful rookie test for Robert Kubica in Bahrain

After his rookie driver test with the ByKolles CLM P1/01 yesterday afternoon in Bahrain, 31 year old Robert Kubica took a few moments to speak about his future racing plans. 

Kubica's fastest time over 27 laps was a 1.47.222, over 2.5 seconds faster than Pierre Kaffer and over 5 seconds quicker than Francesco Dragone in the ByKolles LMP1 in yesterdays test.  Compared to Pierre Kaffer's time in the practice sessions in Bahrain, Kubica was half a second faster. "I had a pretty good feeling in the car today, although it's very different to what I've been driving in the past months. Today was a good opportunity to see if I could be able to drive a car like this. My laptimes were good, but I feel I even could go faster with more time behind the wheel as there was a lot to discover right now". 

More than 5 years after his terrifying accident in the opening stage of the Andorra Rally in 2011, Kubica now feels ready for a comeback to circuit racing. "The first times I went back to a track to test a race car, it didn't feel right" said the Polish driver. "It was tough to drive on track again still recovering from my injuries, and when leaving the circuit at the end of the day it just didn't feel right. This was one of the main reasons why I switched to rally in the past years. Rally has a completely different atmosphere around it, new people, a whole new paddock ... which really attracted me to go there instead of back to circuit racing.  

About his plans for the future, Kubica said he wanted to have a programme for next year ready past October, but that didn't happen until now. "I want to come back to racing but in a truly professional environment, with the right team and the right people behind it, so I'm still weighing out my options". Asked about the WEC and the Le Mans 24 Hours, he said that Le Mans is a unique and very appealing event for any racing driver.  "I haven't seen the race yesterday as I only arrived late night in Bahrain, but for sure the WEC is a very attractive championship with high racing standards. Driving there and at Le Mans in the future would be great. It would take me some time though to become a good endurance driver as it's very different to what I have been up to until now. Adapting to a whole different type of car, racing with 3 drivers with different driving styles, it's all new for me". 

As for now  no programme for next year is known for Kubica. With an encouraging first test in a prototype, who knows if might be some kind of interest to give him a chance to compete in the WEC next year.

Kristof Vermeulen.