Kubica secures first major rally win
6 January 2014 – Former F1 driver Robert Kubica secured the biggest win of his rally career last weekend, when he triumphed on the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich, the opening round of the 2014 FIA European Rally Championship.
Kubica, who will compete at the top level this season in the FIA World Rally Championship, having inked a deal to pilot a Lotos-supported M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC, was taking in the event in Austria as a warm-up for Rallye Monte Carlo, which gets underway next week.
The Pole, who was driving a Ford Fiesta RRC and who was co-driven by Maciej Szczepaniak for the first time, started the closing 25.00-kilometre stage trailing Václav Pech by 11.8 seconds but a stunning performance, coupled with an inspired tyre choice, enabled him to power to victory, eventually securing top spot by 19.9 seconds.
The winning margin could have been even higher too but for a puncture on day one and a 10-second penalty for a jumped start on Sunday morning.
“For sure it’s very nice to do be here as a winner but our priority was to get as much experience and information from this rally in order to prepare for Monte-Carlo,” said Kubica, who was quickest in eight of the 18 stages.
“I did participate on four ERC events last year but I was often unlucky and made few mistakes as I was using the rallies for training. I was a bit more lucky this time but the conditions were very difficult and for sure this was one of the toughest weekends of my motorsport career.”
His performance also saw him earn the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy, which was presented by two-time World Rally champion Marcus Grönholm.