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Kubica Takes To The Gravel Grand Prix
Posted by: newsla on Jul 28, 2014 - 04:19 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Kubica Takes To The Gravel Grand Prix

RK M-Sport World Rally Team’s Robert Kubica will take to the Ford Fiesta RS WRC once again this week as the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) ventures to the sport’s spiritual home for the 64th Neste Oil Rally Finland.


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Commonly known as the ‘Gravel Grand Prix’, the Finnish fixture is synonymous with speed – something that should suit the Formula One race winner. The Finnish forests have played host to eight of the WRC’s ten fastest rallies; the fastest on record being set in 2005 with an average speed of 122.86 kilometres per hour.

But speed is not everything and this iconic rally has become something of a specialist event with little room for error. The blisteringly quick stages are littered with hidden crests and jumps – or ‘yumps’ as they are more commonly known – and experience in mastering the nature of the route can play a pivotal role.

Positioning the car correctly for each take-off and landing is essential and the co-drivers need to be on top of their game – delivering their notes clearly and precisely at breath-taking speeds.
Rally Finland truly favours the brave, and the crews will need to muster all of their ‘sisu’ – a Finnish phrase which loosely translates to ‘having guts’ – if they are to succeed on this Scandinavian classic.

Having contested Rally Finland as part of his WRC 2 championship winning campaign in 2013, Robert finished a highly respectable second in class and ninth overall which will give him a good basis on which to build this week.

With the power and performance of the Fiesta RS WRC behind him, there remains an element of learning and deciphering the way in which a world rally car responds to the stage characteristics, but the Pole is looking to start the second half of his season on a high.

The popular Pole will certainly have confidence on his side having claimed his maiden victory at the wheel of the Fiesta RS WRC earlier this month. Piloting an A-Style run Fiesta with technical support from M-Sport, Robert secured a dominant win on the Italian asphalt of Rally Internazionale del Casentino.

Robert Kubica said:

“Finland is an exceptionally fast rally. Coming from Poland the step-up in speed will not be as big as if we were coming straight from Sardinia or Greece – if that were the case the average speed difference would be thirty to forty kilometres per hour faster and it would have a much bigger effect.

“I remember when I came here for the first time last year and I thought ‘wow’! This time the speed difference from rally to rally will not be as huge as the Polish stages were also extremely fast. But still, the Finnish stages have a completely different character. There are a lot more corners over crests and the layout of the stages is also very different. In fact the only similarity between Poland and Finland is the speed.

“I competed here last year and about half of the rally route will be the same again this year so at least I know what to expect and what things I should concentrate on during the recce. We will try to prepare as well as we can but it will be our first time here in a world rally car and my driving style has also changed from last year.

“In that respect, it will be a completely different rally to what I remember. But I know what to look at and it is always a little easier to prepare for a rally if you've been there before.”

PaddockTalk Perspective

Also in WRC Rally News 2010:

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