RK M-Sport World Rally Team’s Robert Kubica tamed the forests of New South Wales today and currently holds eighth position going into Rally Australia’s penultimate day.
As the crews embarked on the first full day of competition, eight stages lay in wait – two loops of three technically challenging tests to the south of Coffs Harbour and two runs through the 1.56 kilometre super special adjacent to the service park.
After a week of Tarmac rallying last time out in Germany, Robert had to reaffirm the art of gravel rallying – the character of the stages and the way in which his Ford Fiesta RS WRC handled through the loose-surface terrain.
Mission accomplished, the Pole put in a highly respectable performance on his return to gravel. Today’s speed tests were amongst the most challenging of the weekend – far removed from his more accustomed circuit-like asphalt – and the Formula One race winner rose to the challenge admirably.
Having suffering a spin through the first pass of Hydes Creek (SS1), the Pole regrouped and displayed a marked improvement in pace as he became more familiar with the forest roads.
Despite having to contend with the steering of his Fiesta being slightly out of line, Robert was able to improve his times significantly throughout the afternoon.
Happy with his driving on the loose-surface stages, the Pole climbed the leader board and will be keen to make further gains as the event continues.
Robert Kubica (8th) said:
“We had an issue with the steering this afternoon. For the tricky, narrower sections it is not so much of a problem, but for the fast corners where you have to be very precise it has been a bit distracting. My mind tells me that I’m applying enough steering, but in reality it’s not enough. It’s frustrating, but maybe I’m too sensitive to these things as I come from circuit racing.Other than that I think it has been a good day for us. We’ve had no moments and no mistakes and I’ve been happy with my driving on these difficult stages.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“It’s good to see another solid performance from Robert [Kubica] on gravel. He’s had a clean run with no mistakes and has been driving well which gives him a good platform to build on tomorrow.”