Former Formula One driver Robert Kubica is set to enter the final round of the 2013 World Rally Championship as his comeback from injury takes another step forward.
The Polish driver raced in F1 between 2006 and 2010, winning one grand prix and firmly announcing himself as a star for the future. However, whilst rallying ahead of the 2011 F1 season, an accident saw Kubica suffer severe injuries to his right arm that meant he could not race as planned for Lotus Renault that year, and it appeared to put an end to an incredibly promising motorsport career.
However, following a lengthy recovery, Kubica returned to action in 2012 behind the wheel of a rally car, and this led to him competing in the WRC2 championship (supporting the World Rally Championship) this season. The Pole currently leads with two rounds remaining.
Now though, Kubica’s comeback will take another step forward as he steps up to the World Rally Championship for the first time for the final round of the season in Great Britain.
“This one-off outing for the works team is a great opportunity for me, but it’s also a huge challenge,” Kubica explained. “Wales Rally GB wasn’t part of my original programme, so I’m very happy to be able to have this precious experience.”
Kubica will get behind the wheel of a Citroen DS3 for the championship finale that will be held in Wales, although the title has already been won by Sebastien Ogier. The Frenchman ended Sebastian Loeb’s run of nine consecutive world titles this year by virtue of his compatriot’s decision to compete in only a handful of races.
Besides his rally commitments, Kubica has also completed work in the simulator for Mercedes AMG F1 Team this season.
Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”
The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.
“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”
Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.