Robert Kubica has had his first competitive motorsport outing since nearly losing his right arm in a shocking rallying accident over 18 months ago. The Pole is competing in the Ronde Gomitolo di Lana Rally in Italy at the wheel of a Subaru WRC car.
The news marks another major step in the one-time Grand Prix winner’s recovery from his accident, which could still prove too great an obstacle to a return to racing in Formula 1.
While admitting that a return to the top flight would be the ultimate achievement, Kubica told the Italian media that he was thrilled with the progress he had already made.
"To be here in Biella is obviously emotional after 20-21 difficult months," he was quoted as sayng on SkySport24.
"Let’s hope we can enjoy ourselves, without looking at stage times because in the end it’s a matter of re-establishing the way of driving and helping the arm to recover better.
"Having been a driver for 20 years, my body is accustomed to certain things, and I can feel these things only while I drive, so we’ll see."
So what of his hopes of an F1 return?
"I haven’t set any percentages or deadlines for myself. I’m [just] happy to be here," he answered.
"In life sometimes you have to be content with less than what you would really like; and that time is now. However I say I’m happy to be here, I think it’s a fine goal.
"I can’t tell you what the future holds because I don’t honestly know myself.
"Obviously I will do everything in order to be in full activity next year. These months I will decide what I will do, because I’ve done various tests on the track with high-performance cars, but I need to decide myself what to do, what I would like best, and see whether the F1 objective is reachable or not.
"For sure what I’m doing next year will be with a view on the future, maybe 2014, but honestly I’m not thinking of it."
Despite pitiful confirmations from the top brass in the team, Kubica had conducted a test session with Ford’s works WRC team late last month.