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Robert Kubica to enter Renault Sport Trophy round at Spa

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica will continue his return to circuit racing at Spa-Francorchamps next weekend in the Renault Sport Trophy.

Kubica raced in F1 between 2006 and 2010, but sustained a serious injury to his right hand and arm in a rally crash ahead of the 2011 season that meant he was unable to return.

After undergoing rehabilitation that allowed him to return to motorsport in rallying, Kubica took part in a number of World Rally Championship events from 2013.

The Pole announced earlier this year that he would leave rallying after the Monte Carlo Rally at the start of 2016, before making his first circuit racing start since his accident at the 12 Hours of Mugello following an invitation from Mercedes.

On Thursday, Renault announced that Kubica had accepted an invitation to take part in a round its spec-championship for R.S.01 cars at Spa next weekend.

Kubica will race alongside Christophe Hamon for Duqueine Engineering at Spa, having completed a shakedown with the team earlier this week at Ales in France.

“I quickly felt at ease at the wheel of the R.S. 01, and even on a twisty track like Ales its qualities were immediately evident, especially the stopping power granted by the carbon discs,” Kubica said.

“I was impressed by how late into the corner you can brake and by the absence of body roll, even when you push to make the most of the available grip.

“I look forward to driving it at Spa, where all the downforce the car can generate will also come into play.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”