With only two-wheel-drive, Robert Kubica suffered some substantial time loss.
Following what had arguably been his best ever performance on gravel, RK M-Sport World Rally Team’s Robert Kubica had the opportunity to secure a career-best result as RallyRACC – Rally de España turned to asphalt today.
Unfortunately, the rear driveshaft of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC was damaged on the liaison to the first stage of the morning (SS8). Having made contact with their engineer, Robert and co-driver Maciek Szczepaniak affected a temporary solution which meant they were able to complete the loop. But with only two-wheel-drive, they suffered some substantial time loss which put paid to any hope of a strong result.
It was a real shame. After a very good day on gravel yesterday it could have been a similar story on Tarmac, but that is rallying.
It was a bitter disappointment for the team as the Polish pairing had the opportunity to battle for a podium position. Yet thanks to their quick fix, they were able to complete the loop and limit the potential time loss which kept them well within the overall top-ten.
With the issue resolved in service, Robert embarked on the day’s final stages eager to learn more about the event and further improve his skills. Unfortunately his day came to an untimely end on the first stage of the afternoon (SS11).
Tackling the 50 kilometres of ‘Escaladei’ for the second time, the Formula One race winner was caught out under braking and damaged the front-right wheel of his Fiesta. The M-Sport mechanics will work to repair the damage this evening and Robert will hope to restart under Rally 2 regulations tomorrow.
Robert Kubica (18th) said: "We lost today's first loop because of a broken driveshaft and that is why the second pass was effectively the first one for us. At the end of SS11 there were a lot of cuts and gravel on the road and at one place it took me by surprise under braking.
“I cut a junction and we hit something with the right-front wheel. A suspension bracket bolt broke which meant the driveshaft became loose and it was not possible to continue as it was. We worked on the car at the side of the road and managed to fix it somehow then, when all of the cars had passed, we were able to drive down to the finish where a recovery truck was waiting.
“It was a real shame. After a very good day on gravel yesterday it could have been a similar story on Tarmac, but that is rallying."
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said: “It’s a shame that Robert [Kubica] suffered some mechanical issues this morning but he showed real drive and determination to complete the loop. Sadly, he was caught out under braking on SS11 this afternoon and damaged the front-right wheel. We’ll assess the damage when the car returns to service, but I hope to see him back out on the stages tomorrow.”
RK M-Sport World Rally Team