Kubica says injury "limitations" no obstacle to possible WEC career
Robert Kubica is "confident" that the injuries that curtailed his Formula 1 career won't impede him in pursuing a future in endurance racing following his appearance in the FIA WEC Rookie Test in Bahrain.
A severe right-hand injury, sustained in a rally crash in February 2011, ended the Polish driver's promising F1 tenure and was followed by a five-year hiatus from circuit racing altogether, Kubica focusing on WRC instead after his recovery.
But when a lack of sponsorship forced him to take a break from rallying, Kubica made a return to the track in March's 12 Hours of Mugello, and has since contested the Renault Sport Trophy round at Spa and the 6 Hours of Vallelunga.
The 31-year-old was a surprise late entry to the WEC Rookie Test entry list in Bahrain, where he tried out the ByKolles CLM P1/01, and finished the afternoon session with a best time of 1m47.222s.
Neel Jani set the day's fastest time in the morning, a 1m42.137s, in the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
"I’m quite confident that I can drive long stints for endurance races, this was very important to see," Kubica told Motorsport.com. "I think I can do pretty long stints and more than one.
"If I’m comfortable in the car and if I can drive with my limitations, I am not scared. I have trained quite a lot the last six months and I am in good shape physically."
The Pole added he is "for sure" keen on WEC as an avenue for his future career.
"The LMP1 category is kind of like F1 with covered wheels," he said. "The factory cars are much quicker [than the ByKolles], a completely different level, but the championship is quite tough.
Asked if he would be racing in WEC in 2017, he added: "Maybe, if I like it. Yes, maybe!"
Gustavo Menezes was the fastest of the three rookies that had been selected by the ACO to sample LMP1 machinery in the test, the American setting a best time of 1m43.626s in the #1 Porsche.
Paul-Loup Chatin's run in the #7 Audi was curtailed by a front driveshaft problem, although the Frenchman still logged a best time of 1m43.910s, while Pipo Derani's quickest lap in the #5 Toyota was a 1m44.292s.
Cockpit tweaks needed
Talking about his first run in the ByKolles-run machine, Kubica said the car would need some "tweaks" for him to be able to race it, but insisted it was not too physically demanding.
"It was quite a late call coming here for the test, I actually knew about it only on Thursday so not a lot of time to prepare," he said. "I just came here as a roll-out to see if I can drive the car, and how it feels.
"With my limitations, not all cars I can drive, and we didn’t have time to make any modifications. So it’s not 100 percent perfect for me, but it was more to come here to see how my feeling is, how the feeling of an LMP car is.
"Physically it was not a big problem; it’s more about the space, and I will need some tweaks in the cockpit."
Click here to see full Bahrain Rookie Test results
Photo by: Vision Sport Agency
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