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The “pure enjoyment” Subaru that restarted Kubica’s racing journey

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When talking to Robert Kubica, his ardour for all types of motorsport shortly involves the floor. So maybe it shouldn’t be a shock that when selecting his favorite automobile, the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix winner eschews the apparent choose of the BMW-Sauber F1.08 that he drove to his solely System 1 victory in Montreal. In any case, he regards the 2005 F1 title-winning Renault R25 that he examined at Barcelona after successful that yr’s System Renault 3.5 title as “essentially the most wonderful automobile I drove”.

For his favorite, Kubica as an alternative picks a rally automobile however, given the very first automobile the Pole purchased along with his personal cash was a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, his selection of the Subaru Impreza S12B WRC 07 is probably just a little surprising.

“You had been Mitsubishi or Subaru, and I used to be a Mitsubishi man,” says Kubica of his youth within the late Nineties and early 2000s when the 2 Japanese producers had been on the peak of their recognition within the World Rally Championship.

It was that long-held ardour for rallying that took Kubica to his fateful participation within the 2011 Ronde di Andora Rally in Italy. His Skoda Fabia’s brutal affect with a barrier that modified his life ceaselessly abruptly halted an F1 profession that appeared destined for greatness, however Kubica says he “by no means doubted that I can be again” in competitors in some type.

And so it was in September 2012, after 19 months and 16 operations, that Kubica made his eagerly anticipated competitors return within the Subaru on three supposedly low-key asphalt rallies in Italy. Aboard a First Motorsport-run Impreza along with his initials emblazoned on the bonnet, he received the Ronde Gomitolo di Lana rally, crashed out of the San Martino di Castrozza after which received in Bassano del Grappa.

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Citroen then got here calling and his profession launched into a transfer into the WRC for the following three seasons earlier than stepping up his efforts to safe an F1 return that finally materialised with the woeful Williams FW42 in 2019 and two cameo appearances for a COVID-stricken Kimi Raikkonen as Alfa Romeo’s reserve in 2021.

The S12B isn’t considered the best of the Banbury-built Impreza household, mustering simply two podiums with 2003 world champion Peter Solberg in 2007 earlier than Chris Atkinson managed one other 4 with an up to date automobile the next yr. It was suffering from dealing with points, with Solberg notably withdrawing in Finland when his automobile felt undriveable. Kubica acknowledges that it was “not essentially tremendous good to drive” though loved its full WRC-spec four-wheel drive, admiring “the engine sound, the ability it has”.

Kubica made his rallying return on this Subaru following his horrific accident in 2011

Photograph by: Andre Vor / Sutton Photos

“I at all times preferred the sound of that automobile, the boxter engine, it was unimaginable,” the World Endurance Championship LMP2 factors chief recollects. “The launch management firstly, it was upshifting alongside from first to second, I feel it was actually lively diffs and it was one thing particular. There may be a variety of romantic historical past behind Subaru rally automobiles.”

When requested to clarify his selection of a rally automobile over a circuit racer, Kubica offers a revealing reply.

“The reason being as a result of rally automobiles are typically extra pleasant to drive,” he says. “So they provide you a sense of that you’re totally below management, though it is likely to be deceptive. But it surely offers you rather more room to play with. Racing automobiles are constructed extra within the utilizing a peak grip, most of efficiency on this particular circumstances, situations and observe. In rally you undergo completely different surfaces, completely different situations, so the automobiles need to have a wider working window and it is a feeling which you don’t have in any respect on circuits or very, little or no.”

“Subaru was a form of low-profile restarting factor and I simply wished to take pleasure in. And I paid on my own from my pocket” Robert Kubica

The S12B might have had its flaws, however for Kubica’s distinctive set of circumstances it was the best weapon to whet his aggressive urge for food after a 580-day hiatus. It might be incorrect to say that it was a automobile that gave him again his ardour, for Kubica stresses he by no means misplaced it, however “it was the way in which of getting again to the surroundings which I do know, which I used to be in love” with.

“I’ve large ardour for the game so no matter has 4 wheels and a steering wheel, I prefer it,” he says. “Initially, I’m a driver however I additionally take pleasure in watching and I’ve large respect of any form of motorsport drivers and something what is de facto on a excessive stage.

“What I at all times say is, no matter it’s, if it’s go-kart, if it’s a System 1, if it’s a rally automobile, if it’s LMP2, it’s at all times tough to deliver it to the restrict. It doesn’t matter if it has 20 horsepower or 1000 horsepower. To deliver autos to the restrict is at all times difficult and tough activity.

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“After all, I had doubts on how will probably be [after his accident] and as much as which stage of rehabilitation of myself I can arrive to then, this can unlock my alternatives. Or if I couldn’t drive competitively racing automobiles, I cannot do it.

“Subaru was a form of low-profile restarting factor and I simply wished to take pleasure in. And I paid on my own from my pocket. It was simply pure enjoyment and enjoyable.”

The Subaru may have been

The Subaru might have been “low-profile” to restarting Kubica’s profession, but it surely ranks as his favorite automobile to have pushed

Photograph by: Andre Vor / Sutton Photos

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