Kubica ready for dual surface duel
- 22nd October 2014, 2:20am
RK M-Sport World Rally Team’s Robert Kubica will tackle the mixed surface stages of RallyRACC Rally de España next week as he takes to the Ford Fiesta RS WRC for the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
The Spanish fixture hosts the only dual surface event of the year and challenges crews to convert their driving style from gravel to asphalt with ease and precision. Robert’s technicians are also tasked with converting his Fiesta from gravel to Tarmac specification in just 75 minutes – providing the Pole with a car that performs to the highest level on both surfaces.
The event starts with an opening super special stage alongside Barcelona’s famous Montjuïc fountains on Thursday evening. A full day of six predominantly gravel speed tests follow before the crews head into the hills north of Tarragona for two days of asphalt rallying on the smooth, circuit-like roads of the Costa Daurada – the highlight of which being a 50 kilometre stage run twice on Saturday to celebrate the event’s 50th anniversary.
Robert has only contested the event once before, but his performance was an impressive one. Winning last year’s WRC2 category with more than a five minute advantage over his nearest rival, the Pole set the fastest time through 10 of the 15 special stages and won all but one of the asphalt tests.
The Spanish Tarmac can become treacherously slippery if wet and the unpredictable autumnal weather of the Mediterranean can often play havoc with tyre strategies. Fortunately, there are few drivers with a better understanding of the changeable characteristics of an asphalt stage and Robert will be keen for further progression at the WRC’s highest league next week.
Robert Kubica said:
“Spain is a very untypical rally as we have to contend with two different surfaces. This year we are starting on gravel and it will be quite a long day. Then, we need to change our driving style very quickly and adapt to the Tarmac for the following two days. The same goes for the car specification.
“The Tarmac roads here in Spain are very nice and I am looking forward to competing on them. From what I remember, the gravel roads are very challenging. In some places they are very fast but narrow with a lot of stones next to the road.
“Most of the stages will be the same as last year. Some are mixed – partly new, partly used last year – but I think that the general characteristics of the roads will be the same as in 2013.
“This year's rally will be a bit more difficult however as we start on gravel and the previous rally [in France] as well as our pre-event test were on Tarmac. Also the Shakedown stage isn't representative of the whole event. Much of it is on Tarmac so the first gravel kilometres will definitely not be easy and we must adapt quickly to driving on the loose surface.”
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