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Kubica joins ByKolles for 2017 WEC season, marking full-time circuit racing return

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica will make his full-time return to circuit racing in 2017 after being announced as one of the ByKolles team’s drivers for the FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Kubica claimed one grand prix victory during his stint in F1 from 2006 to 2010, before being forced to quit due to injuries sustained in a rally crash during the off-season before the 2011 season.

The severity of the injuries to his right arm and hand meant that Kubica could not return to single-seaters, instead making his comeback in the World Rally Championship in 2013.

The Pole won the WRC2 title in his debut season before stepping up to the main WRC class, only to find minimal success before leaving the series following the 2016 Rally Monte Carlo.

Kubica tested an LMP1 car for the first time last November with ByKolles in Bahrain, and was receptive to the idea of racing in the WEC full-time.

On Thursday, the FIA and ACO confirmed the entry lists for both Le Mans and the upcoming WEC season, with Kubica being named as ByKolles’ lead driver on both, confirming his return to circuit racing on a full-time basis.

Kubica will race alongside Oliver Webb for ByKolles, with the team still yet to decide on its third driver. ByKolles will be the only privateer LMP1 team racing in the WEC this year.

“After my time in rallying I’ve been looking for something as close to Formula 1 as possible. This is exactly what I’ve found in LMP1,” Kubica said.

“At the end of last year’s WEC season, I was able to do my first laps behind the wheel of the CLM P1/01. I felt comfortable in the car very quickly and was able to increase my pace accordingly. With even more experience I’m sure I will be able to extract more performance.

“I’m already very much looking forward to the Prologue at Monza and the season start at Silverstone. The professional team of ByKOLLES Racing will continue to make important improvements to the car during the season. I’m happy to be a part of it.

“The WEC is racing on circuits that I know well from my time in Formula 1. The exception is Le Mans. I’ve heard so many good things about the event at the Sarthe. I’m very excited about my first start at this 24 hour race.”

Video highlights from Stage 12 of Dakar Rally, 2 stages remain

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Thursday’s Stage 12 of the 40th Dakar Rally not only closed the overall standings gap in at least two classes (cars and trucks), two other classes (bikes and quads) failed to get going due to weather conditions.

The full video highlights of Stage 12 will air on NBCSN on Friday at 7 pm ET, but here are some of the highlights from Thursday’s action:

CARS

2018 Dakar Rally: Nasser Al-Attiyah wins Stage 12 of cars

BIKES

 Stage 12 cancelled due to weather conditions

 

TRUCKS

Ton van Genugten edged out Martin Kolomy in Stage of, while Federico Villagra and Eduard Nikolaev both faced an uphill battle to finish fourth and third respectively.

QUADS

Even though the Quads were also impacted by weather issues on Thursday, Ignacio Casale, the 2014 Dakar winner, continues to make his case for a second overall victory in the quads.