As you may recall, Kubica was a budding F1 driver, having won the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2005 and his first F1 grand prix in 2008. But before the start of the 2011 season, Kubica suffered a catastrophic crash at the Ronde di Andora rally, in which his Skoda Fabia S2000 was impaled on a guard rail, leaving Kubica with serious injuries from which to recuperate.
Kubica hasn't been up to returning to grand prix racing, but undeterred by his terrifying crash, he's been having a go in professional rallying since last season. Now competing for Citroën in the second-tier WRC2 category, Kubica is within spitting distance of locking up its inaugural title. And he's already stepping up to the big leagues.
Although it wasn't supposed to occur until Kubica had taken the WRC2 championship, Citroën has now confirmed that Kubica will contest the season-closing Wales Rally GB next month in the top class. It'll be one heck of an opportunity for Kubica, and could lead to greater success than fellow F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen ever enjoyed in his brief rally career. As for the WRC2, if Kubica manages second place or better in the Catalunya Rally next week, the title will be in his pocket.
- Grand Prix winner steps up to top-flight rallying
- Pole admits Wales Rally GB will be 'huge challenge'
Former Formula One star and this year's driver of a Citroën DS3 RRC, Robert Kubica will step up to the DS3 WRC for the final round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), competing with co-driver Maciek Baran at the highest level, on Wales Rally GB (14-17 November). It will be the first time that the 28-year-old Pole has competed at the WRC's highest level since switching from F1 to rallying following the serious accident in early 2011 in which his forearm was partially severed.
With four category wins from the six rallies in the lesser WRC2 category, Kubica can rightfully feel pleased with his debut season in the WRC. Currently leading the WRC2 championship standings, he will be trying to seal overall class victory later this month at Rally RACC Catalunya, where second place would be enough for him to win his first world title. Wales Rally GB, which until now was not part of his programme for this year, will provide him with the perfect opportunity to put his skills to the test in rally's top-flight category.
"This one-off outing for the works team is a great opportunity for me, but it's also a huge challenge," revealed Kubica. "Wales Rally GB wasn't part of my original programme, so I'm very happy to be able to have this precious experience. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my partners, and especially the Lotos Group and Citroën Racing for having made this possible."
Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of International Motor Sports Ltd, the organisers of Wales Rally GB, commented: "We welcome Robert Kubica to Wales Rally GB, and are delighted to announce that both our international and national entry lists have not only exceeded expectations, but also feature some of the greatest names in modern day rallying. Having Kubica compete at our event, which has been named the Rally of Legends, will be a treat for all the fans that will be lining the route and avidly watching the action as it unfolds in the Welsh forests."
The four-day finale to this year's World Rally Championship, re-located in north Wales, is now based at a new Service Park in Deeside, Flintshire. This is not only close to the motorway network but also is perfectly placed for some of the world's most iconic forest rally stages, many of which are either totally new or have not been featured in the WRC since the nineties. Adding to the spectacle, some of these will be run after dark on the Thursday evening (14 November) and tickets are priced from just £15 (plus fees).