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.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.