Robert Kubica admits F1 comeback chances are ‘very slight’

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Robert Kubica has conceded his chances of making a full-time return to Formula 1 are “very slight” despite enjoying three test appearances with Renault this year and being linked with a drive at Williams for 2017.

Kubica raced in F1 between 2006 and 2010, claiming one grand prix victory in Canada in 2008, only to have his single-seater career put on hold after suffering severe injuries to his right arm and hand in a rally accident before the 2011 season.

The Pole returned to motorsport in rallying before embarking on a number of private single-seater tests to judge his capabilities, leading to two private F1 tests with Renault and ultimately an appearance in the collective test following the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Kubica put in an impressive display, but Renault admitted there were still question marks regarding his capabilities behind the wheel, with the team eventually signing Carlos Sainz Jr. to race alongside Nico Hulkenberg in 2018.

Kubica has reportedly been targeted by Williams as an option for 2018, but he admitted in an interview with the FIA’s AUTO magazine that his chances of coming back full-time were very slim.

“I am very realistic and I know that the possibility of me returning full-time to racing in Formula 1 is very slight,” Kubica said.

“Every day I discover my new limits, but I always hoped I’d at least get the chance to give it a go. I’ve done a lot of kilometers in the simulator and I’ve driven in other categories, but I knew only driving a Formula 1 car would give me those special feelings again, and it proved to be true.

“The 6th of June, the day I drove at Valencia, was one of the best days of my life, even if I didn’t win anything or stand on the podium.

“It only took me a few laps to get some amazing feelings, which made me realize why I love this sport so much. I don’t get emotional easily but that day I really did.

“I realized that driving a Formula 1 car was the thing that made me happy and I finally felt at peace.”

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

Petit Le Mans championship
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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in the final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a victory over Pipo Derani in the the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

With the rebranding of DPi to GTP for the new LMDh cars, Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”