Kubica forced out of Monte Carlo

Kubica forced out of Monte CarloFrom General Article [ 24/01/2016 ].
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Polish ace Robert Kubica has been forced out of the world-famous Monte Carlo Rally by an icy corner six kilometres into the third stage of the event on Friday morning. Kubica's Ford Fiesta RS WRC, run by the Cherasco-based BRC Racing Team in Italy, slid wide on a notoriously icy patch and went off the road. It was then struck by another competitor, which forced it further into the ditch. Nobody was injured, but the incident meant that Kubica's rally was over before it had barely begun.

The corner where Kubica went off was well known for being treacherous, and it caught out a number of other competitors who were suddenly surprised by the instant change in grip.

"We went off in an icy section," said Kubica, who was making his debut with BRC. "It's very disappointing because we put a lot of effort into being here. The road was dry before we came to the ice. We did two corners on the ice and it felt quite okay. Then we arrived at the right-hander and I was just a passenger. The anti-lag was pushing me and unfortunately we slid off the road and hit a tree with the front left. Then later Elfyn Evans slid wide into our car and pushed it down into the ditch."

The car could not be recovered to the service area until late into the evening. With a strict deadline for making repairs, the team's engineers soon concluded that the damage was too much to fix in time for Kubica to re-start the following day.

Up until the point where he went off, Kubica had made a very promising start to the Monte Carlo Rally: round one of the World Rally Championship. Eighth fastest on both of the opening night stages run on Thursday, he was looking to move up the leaderboard on Friday. The Pole has a stellar record on the insidious and changeable surfaces of Monte Carlo, having won stages and led the event overall in the past.

The BRC Racing Team was also making its world championship debut in Monte Carlo, having previously tasted success on the Italian Rally Championship with former European champion Giandomenico Basso.

Team principal Massimiliano Fissore commented: "Although it's not always easy to do so in a situation like this, we have to look at the positives. First and foremost, it's been a great pleasure to work with an international star of the calibre of Robert, and the fact that he has chosen us is a great accolade for our team. His professionalism and dedication was evident from the moment he was first in contact with us. Secondly, as short as it was, we made a promising start to the rally and it's clear that Robert could have scored some important points here, had he reached the finish. I'd also like to pay tribute to our engineers, mechanics and other personnel, who proved beyond doubt this weekend that they are more than capable of running a top car at the very highest levels of the sport, for one of the biggest names in international racing."

Kubica's plans are yet to be finalised for the rest of the season, so it is not yet clear whether or not he will make another appearance run by the BRC Racing Team, with the next world championship round coming up in Sweden in just two week's time.

Other plans for the BRC Racing Team this year include a renewed assault on the Italian Rally Championship title, using an innovative LPG-powered Ford Fiesta R5. The first round of the Italian series, the Rally Il Ciocco, gets underway on March 20.

The BRC Racing Team also remains available to run cars on the World Rally Championship, as well as other international events.