Getty Images

Robert Kubica withdraws before FIA WEC season

Leave a comment

Robert Kubica will not, in fact, take part in the forthcoming FIA World Endurance Championship season with the ByKolles team, as he’d planned to.

The Polish driver was looking set for his return to circuit racing after several years away since his accident in a rally in 2011.

While he’s made several rally returns since, a high-profile entry into the FIA WEC was going to be a jolt in the lone privateer LMP1 entry, the ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01 NISMO chassis.

He and Oliver Webb were the two confirmed drivers announced in February, with a third still yet to be determined for the Boris Bermes-directed operation.

Instead, Kubica has called off the return, in a statement he made via his Facebook page.

“After the Prologue, I have decided to interrupt my racing program with the ByKolles team in LMP1,” Kubica wrote.

“Therefore, I will not take part in the upcoming WEC Silverstone opening round and in the other WEC races. It has been a hard decision to step down and so lose the opportunity to join such a challenging and competitive Championship, but I hope this will not be a definitive goodbye.”

The 6 Hours of Silverstone takes place this weekend with a 27-car grid, the ByKolles car as noted one of only five in LMP1 alongside the pair of Porsche 919 Hybrids and Toyota TS050 Hybrids. Toyota’s third car doesn’t come online until the second round at Spa-Francorchamps.

Hamilton tops second Abu Dhabi F1 practice with new track record

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton swept to the top of the timesheets in second Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday evening, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second.

Hamilton trailed Vettel through the daytime-run opening practice session, but managed to strike back by recording a new track record at the Yas Marina Circuit for Mercedes.

Hamilton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:37.877 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Vettel at the checkered flag, appearing to have an edge across a single lap on the ultra-soft tire.

Red Bull threw its hat into the ring as a possible rival for pole through Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session third-fastest, three-tenths of a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen ended FP2 in fourth place in the sister Ferrari, finishing within half a second of Hamilton, and managed to edge out fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was a further two-tenths back in P5.

Max Verstappen failed to get in a quick flying lap during FP2, ending the session one second down in P6 for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s tight intra-team fight at Force India continued through FP2 as the pair were separated by just 0.01 seconds, taking seventh and eighth respectively to finish as the leading midfield drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren, with Felipe Massa following in 11th for Williams on his final Friday appearance in F1.

Massa was fortunate to avoid an accident with Ricciardo during the final 15 minutes of the session after a mix up at the hairpin when the Brazilian tried to get a wider line for the back straight.

Running in Abu Dhabi continues with final practice at Yas Marina on Saturday morning from 5am ET on the NBC Sports app, followed by qualifying at 8am ET on NBCSN.