Robert Kubica has admitted that he 'must learn to listen' after crashing out of the Sicilian Rally Taormina-Messina at the weekend - but the Pole had nonetheless proven his pace in running well inside the top ten and in the lead of his class on the opening day.

Behind the wheel of a DP Motorsports Renault Clio R3, Kubica ended the short opening day eighth overall and at the head of class R3C, five tenths of a second clear of closest pursuer and local specialist Paul Wise in a similar machine.

However, the new Renault F1 signing's challenge would be abruptly ended the following morning, when on SS3 the Krak?w native collided with a wall and damaged the right-front corner of his car beyond repair. Nonetheless, Kubica insisted that he had enjoyed the outing - and that the physical aspect to it had been no great cause of concern.

"I'm used to it," the 24-year-old is quoted as having said by the official World Rally Championship website. "It might be different in Formula 1, but we are all athletes. I like the tests and the people have been very welcoming. [On the first day] I did not attack; I was trying to learn about driving the car. The only unknowns are the pace notes - I hope to get used to driving in this way. I must learn to listen."

Kubica's next 'off-season' rally adventure will come on the French Championship Rallye de Var in Saint Maxime, again in the Clio and in just under a fortnight's time. What's more, he will find himself in illustrious company on the event, up against record-breaking six-time World Rally Champion S?bastien Loeb and wife S?v?rine in a C4 World Rally Car.