Polish F1 driver and Krakow native Robert Kubica has loved nothing more than driving since he was still learning to talk. Now a world-renowned and highly sought-after professional racer, his exploits with the multi-billion-dollar travelling Formula One circus are not enough to satisfy his speed bug. During his time off from helping to find the winning recipe for Renault, he has been participating in rally racing.
“I’m interested in all categories of motorsport and I particularly like rally,” Kubica said before he took his place at Renault F1 over the winter. “It’s a very demanding and spectacular category and I have been thinking about participating in a rally for quite a while, so joining the Renault F1 Team has created the perfect opportunity to try this out.”
Kubica has been driving various configurations of Renault’s Clio in races around Europe. Over the off season for F1, he showed impressive pace in Italy, where he saw his first key career success as a kart driver, becoming the first foreigner to seize the Italian Junior Karting Championship. He them continued his exploits during the F1 series, amongst other races, in Monte Carlo, where he entered for the first time this year and did not finish due to a cracked engine block after finishing on the podium in the legendary F1 event.
Kubica says that it is the unique challenges of rally racing that appeal to him. While Formula One is a highly technical discipline, from the engineer’s drawing board to the driver’s plotting of his racing line around the corners, rally racing is a battle of nerves between the driver and the road, as the driver plans his approach to each corner on the fly, and the navigator reads shorthand descriptions of what is around the bend.
“It wasn’t actually my plan to go rallying during the season, but I had some problems when I competed last winter, so I had to do it more and it’s been going really well. What I love about it is that you always have a question mark in your mind: when you approach each corner, you never know what’s going to happen,” said Kubica. “In Formula 1, I can predict 80 or 90 percent of what will happen on each lap, but in rallying you can predict nothing. You go into the corner thinking ‘what the hell will happen now?’ That’s what I enjoy most.”