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Kubica blames tyre pressures for Assen DTM struggles

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Kubica blames tyre pressures for Assen DTM struggles
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Co-author: Ronald Vording, Writer

DTM rookie Robert Kubica feels having the wrong tyre pressures prevented him scoring a second points finish in a row at a wet Assen circuit on Sunday.

After a nightmare start to his maiden season in the DTM in a customer ART-run BMW M4, Kubica finally broke inside the top 10 in the first race at the Dutch venue on Saturday, scoring his first points finish of the year.

He appeared set to replicate that result in a wet Race 2 on Sunday, having qualified a career-best 10th and overtaken WRT Audi’s Harrison Newey to run ninth early on.

The Polish driver stopped for fresh wet tyres after just five laps of green flag running at the end of the seventh tour, and returned from the pitlane on an empty track.

But Kubica simply couldn’t show the same pace on fresh wet tyres as he did in the first stint and he eventually slipped to 15th in the final classification, only ahead of a lapped Newey.

Speaking after the race, the 35-year-old felt he could have finished higher up the order had his team fitted his car with low pressure tyres in line with the drying track conditions.

“It’s a bit of a shame because we talked about it before the race, we did everything perfectly and we decided what we had to do,” Kubica told Motorsport.com. 

“Although we didn’t have massive pace, still the second stint was so bad because there was a mistake on which set [of tyres] went to the car. When you have this condition it is important to have right pressures in the tyre and the pressures were a bit incorrect.

“You prepare different sets with different pressures and depending upon how much water you see [and] what is the weather. But it was clear that we would stop early and we would go long and the track was drying up and we need as low pressure as possible. 

“Unfortunately when I came out after one lap I discovered, because the team cannot tell you that. By feeling you know something is wrong and the only thing that can be wrong is this.”

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Kubica’s strategy to make an early pitstop could have been a masterstroke, as factory BMW driver Sheldon van der Linde, who stopped just three laps later than him, went on to win the race from 14th on the grid.

The Polish driver, however, said he was not frustrated with van der Linde’s result, saying he simply didn’t have the same pace as the South African.

“It’s not frustrating,” he said. “I want to congratulate BMW and him. It’s a question of doing a better job.

“For me it’s clear that running off traffic on wet can be helpful and looks like people on a drying track there is a lot of potential, a lot of speed difference in the cars and they tend to block each other. When you are in clean air you can do your own race. 

“I’m sure he gained quite a lot of time and the position. For me in the end it was just lack of pace. I had Sheldon coming out from the garage a few laps later, he just pitted in front of me. If I would have the pace we probably finish... in the end the decision was made before the start of the race, we just didn’t have the pace.

“After two laps my rear tyres were all over the place, the car was not handling [well]. We know the reasons. But that’s how it is.“

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About this article

Series DTM
Event Assen
Drivers Robert Kubica
Author Rachit Thukral