Ahead of his new challenge in the FIA World Rally Championship in an M-Sport prepared Ford Fiesta RS WRC car, former F1 star Robert Kubica's first action of the year resulted in victory at the Jannerrallye in Austria last weekend.
"It's always good," said the Polish star when asked how it felt to be back on top. "There was only one year in my career that I have not been on the podium in 2007 so starting by being on the podium and winning the rally is always nice."
Kubica's last appearance on a podium in F1 came at Spa in 2010 while competing with the Renault F1 (now Lotus) team before he was seriously injured in a crash on the first stage of the Ronde di Andora rally on February 2011.
While still recuperating from his injuries Kubica was forced to turn his attentions away from single seat competition and toward rallying, and this year he will be a full time competitor in the WRC which starts on January 16-20 with the Monte Carlo rally.
The 29-year-old said that as sweet as last weekend's victory had been in the European Rally Championship event, it was really only a stepping stone and a valuable training event for him for his upcoming WRC challenge - his first year at the very top level in rallying as last year he ran in WRC2 in a Citroen DS3 RRC.
"For sure it's very nice to be here as a winner but our priority was a bit different. It was to get as much experience and information from this rally in order to prepare for Monte-Carlo," said the reigning WRC2 champion and the person you, Crash.net's
readers, voted World Rally Driver of the Year 2013
"We have to keep our feet on the ground," he continued. "This year will be a big challenge participating in the WRC with the top drivers and the new rallies coming.
"I have never been in Monte Carlo - apart from the recce in 2010, but I didn't start the rally. It was a great opportunity to come here but it really will be a tough and long season."
"I am here to learn and use this opportunity as much as I can and hopefully the learning process one day will end up and I use my skills together with experience fundamental in rallying," he added. "You need time to learn and do the rallies and discover the stages. It takes a lot of time but I am motivated to work and then we will see."