Robert Kubica - the best Polish driver

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Robert Kubica in Rally Portugal - introduction

fot. M-Sport
We have a bit of anniversary of Robert Kubica’s starts at WRC - a year ago Pole participated in his first World Rally Championship event . The Rally of Portugal was not easy, and Robert and Maciej (then Baran) underwent a real school . It should now be easier, although a significant part of the route will be new. Below you will find a full preview of the Rally of Portugal - statements of our crew , schedule of SS as well as relations and videos.

After quite a long break, we will have a return of excitement that comes with Robert Kubica and Maciej Szczepaniak in the World Rally Championship. Rally of Portugal will be easier, because it’s more familiar for Robert .

Kubica and Szczepaniak before the rally

"Since my return to professional motorsport, this is the first event that I have contested before so I know more or less what to expect. Of course there are some different stages and some changes of direction compared to last year. In fact close to 50 per cent of the rally will again be new to me, but we know what to expect in terms of the nature and character of the stages.

A lot has changed in the past 12 months. Last year Portugal was my first rally on gravel – with zero experience of the surface – in a different, smaller RRC [Regional Rally Car]. To be honest, I think next week will be a bit easier as I have a better idea of what to expect – both from the stages and from the car.

From what I remember, Rally de Portugal is a very demanding and difficult event and I do not expect it to be any different this year. We need to approach it as if it were another new rally.

All of the WRC events are tricky for me, especially gravel rallies where my experience is limited and I am discovering everything from zero. I remember from last year that this event is especially tricky as there are many crests which are quite demanding. Of course it is a relatively short rally [when compared to the previous outing in Mexico] so it may be a little easier in that respect.

After a difficult start to the season, I would like to get through this event without any mistakes. As I said, it will not be easy and it will be another new lesson for me. We will have to wait and see if past experience will help, but the goal is definitely to stay on the road and drive a nice smooth rally
"

Aim for the Rally of Portugal for Robert Kubica and Maciej Szczepaniak is a finish – they both stressed this in statements before the event.

In our interview with Maciej Szczepaniak we asked him : What are your expectations for Portugal ? Everyone says this is the first rally that Robert Kubica has driven in the past year.

"He accomplished, but only 50% of SS’s, which are repeated or combined . But it's better than nothing , as it was in previous rallies. I don’t have any expectations about the place. I want us to go clean rally and if we do it, at the finish line we will find something for us" - said Maciej Szczepaniak .

Robert’s last year's performance

Robert Kubica last year had a lot of problems during the Rally of Portugal. It started with too broad a departure that caused damage to the radiator and tires. Below you can see the situation and attempt to repair the car (from 0:50):


On the following SS’s another tire has damaged, and on one of road sections tires didn’t hold out and Kubica had to withdraw from the competition. He returned the next day and then got plumbing problems - Robert could not change gears using paddles , and had to do so, as the other drivers do. There were also problems with the car overheating . Kubica finally decided to withdraw from the competition also on Saturday. Sunday passed without much adventure , though most disturbing was dust but eventually Poles finished competition at the 6th place in WRC2 and 22 place in the general classification. Very symptomatic photo from last year, probably reflecting the struggle with the car and the tires throughout the rally:


Route

Rally Portugal is a gravel rally with quite a large number of hills with blind corners – that’s why the description is so important. The first crews on the route will have to watch out for loose stones, next for the ruts and dust, which can greatly restrict visibility. The rally is also always very demanding for the tires. In total, for drivers waits nearly 1400 km of which nearly 340 km is the distance of SS . Trials will be not many, but it will be quite long - the longest will consist of 31.9 km and will take place on Saturday.

Here is the official schedule for the Rally of Portugal 2014:

Tuesday, April 1st
8:00 - 20:00 - Getting to Know

Wednesday, April 2nd
8:00 - 14:00 - Getting to Know
15:30 - 16:30 - Shakedown - Vale Judeu (4.98 miles)

Thursday , April 3rd
15:00 - Autographs session
16:00 - Official start ( Estoril )
19:01 - SSS 1 - Lisbon (3.27 miles)

Friday, April 4
10:00 - Service
11:06 - SS 2 - Silves 1 ( 21.50 km )
12:06 - SS 3 - Ourique 1 ( 25.04 km )
12:49 - SS 4 - Almodôvar 1 ( 26.48 km )
14:30 - Service
15:51 - SS 5 - Silves 2 ( 21.50 km )
16:51 - SS 6 - Ourique 2 ( 25.04 km )
17:34 - SS 7 - Almodôvar 2 ( 26.48 km )
19:10 - Service

Saturday, April 5th
9:30 - Service
10:55 - SS 8 - Santa Clara 1 ( 19.09 km )
11:50 - SS 9 - Santana da Serra 1 ( 31.90 km )
13:00 - SS 10 - Malhao 1 ( 22.15 km )
14:20 - Service
16:00 - SS 11 - Santa Clara 2 ( 19.09 km )
16:55 - SS 12 - Santana da Serra 2 ( 31.90 km )
18:05 - SS 13 - Malhao 2 ( 22.15 km )
19:20 - Service

Sunday, April 6th
8:45 - Service
9:50 - SS 14 Loulé 1 ( 13.83 km )
10:45 - SS 15 Sao Bras de Alportel 1 ( 16.21 km )
12:05 - SS 16 Loulé 2 - Power Stage ( 13.83 km )
14:30 - Podium

Maps

Here is a general map of the Special Stages of the Rally of Portugal :


All detailed maps can be found HERE.

What's on TV?

Thursday, April 3rd
19:00 - LIVE 1 OS BT Sport

Friday, April 4th
23:50 - Summary 1st day - Motors TV

Saturday, April 5th
22:35 - Summary 1 day - Motors TV

Sunday, April 6th
12:00 - LIVE 16 OS BT Sport
22:35 - Summary 1 day - Motors TV

Entry list

The crew Kubica / Szczepaniak traditionally starts with the number 10. In the rally is announced start of 15 crews in WRC cars .


The competition will be strong again, and each time in the top ten will certainly be a success. Three cars will bring Hyundai where next to Hanninen and Neuville will go Sordo . Good result can be expected after Henning Solberg and Otto Tanaku. In turn, Robert accustomed us to overcome Martin Prokop and Khalid Al Quassimi, so these players rather should not win the Polish top-ranked crew.

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1 comment:

  1. Sad to see him have such a horrid weekend again in portugal, his bad luck seems to never end. Maybe Argentina will be a better outing. :)

    ReplyDelete