On the cusp of winning the World Rally Championship’s second-tier title, former F1 driver Robert Kubica has been offered the chance to drive a top-level Citroën DS3 WRC car at next month’s Wales Rally GB round, which is the final round of the WRC’s top-flight championship.
While the Pole has been entered at selected WRC rounds in his second-division Citroën, this will be the first time that the 28-year-old has been given the chance to compete in the top-tier machinery.
With four wins in the six rounds he has contested, Kubica currently leads the WRC2 standings and can wrap up the title with a second-placed finish at next weekend’s curtain-closing round in Spain.
Citroën had previously dangled the carrot of a WRC drive in front of Kubica if he won the WRC2 title first, but Citroën Racing boss, Yves Mathon, has instead decided to give him a go irrespective of how he goes next weekend.
“In my discussions with Robert, we agreed that he would move up to the next category if he won the WRC2 title. It’s true that as things stand, he hasn’t won the title. But even if he doesn’t win it in Spain, he has still had a very successful season. He is therefore perfectly entitled to have a go at Wales Rally GB,” Mathon said.
“This one-off outing for the works team is a great opportunity for me, but it’s also a huge challenge,” added Kubica, whose promising F1 career was halted after an horrific crash in a minor rally event at the beginning of 2011.
“Wales Rally GB wasn’t part of my original programme, so I’m very happy to be able to have this precious experience. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my partners for this season, who have made this possible.”
Kubica will pilot the DS3 WRC car that has been largely piloted by Emirati driver Khalid Al Qassimi, who has kindly offered to relinquish the cockpit of his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team entry (pictured above right) and let Kubica have a go.
Citroën is still in negotiations with Kubica to sign him to a full-time WRC drive in 2014, but it has also indicated its plans to enter him in selected rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship as well, with the French carmaker set to make its debut in the category next year.