After significantly out-scoring both Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa courtesy of his second-placed finish in today's Japanese Grand Prix, Robert Kubica has admitted that his title chances are far from over - especially with BMW-Sauber's reputation for 'making fewer mistakes' than its higher-profile rivals.

Though the Munich and Hinwil-based outfit's F1.08 may no longer even be the third-quickest car on the 2008 Formula 1 grid - Renault having seemingly usurped that mantle in recent weeks - Kubica and the team have certainly been amongst, if not the, most consistent combination, and it is just such consistency that sees the Pole enter the final two races of the season still in with a shout of the drivers' laurels at twelve points adrift of world championship leader Hamilton.

"It's still only an outside chance, but we saw last year how dramatically the tables can turn," underlined BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen in an interview with "The whole team is making fewer mistakes - that applies not only to the drivers, but also to our race strategy and our high level of reliability.

"As long as we keep that up in the last two races, everything is possible. We have to look for opportunities presenting themselves and take advantage of errors that are happening ahead of us."

Kubica's gritty runner-up finish to Fernando Alonso at Fuji Speedway was a fine example of just such an approach, as the Pole artfully avoided all of the opening corner turmoil created by Hamilton's ultra-late braking to vault into the lead from down in sixth on the grid, and he would remain there all the way to his first pit visit 20 laps in.

Whilst unable to keep pace with Alonso after the Spaniard leapfrogged him during the stops, Kubica nevertheless continued to race well in second, doggedly and robustly but fairly fending off a late-race onslaught from defending F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen to claim his seventh rostrum finish of a highly impressive campaign in the top flight, and BMW's eleventh. That not only guarantees that the team lives to fight another day in the battle for the constructors' crown, but Kubica does too in the drivers' scrap.

"My start was good but the clutch slipped a little," the 23-year-old related of his race, "therefore Jarno Trulli was able to pass me on the straight. I then decided to take the inside line and braked very late, too late actually and I locked the front wheels.

"Everybody went wide, though, while I was more-or-less able to keep my line, and after the second corner I was in front. I then tried to pull away, but I couldn't. My tyres were graining and I lost time, particularly in the last sector. I was pushing as hard as I could, but after the pit-stop Fernando Alonso was in front of me and I was not able to match his pace.

"At the beginning of the final stint the tyres were graining heavily and my lap times were slow, so I came under strong pressure from Kimi Raikkonen and we had a great fight. At one point he was beside me in corner two, but I was on the inside, just didn't back off and was able to keep him behind. After a few laps the graining went away and I was able to run at my normal pace.

"It's a great result for the whole team at a time when it is not easy. We have been struggling a little bit recently and we were under pressure from some teams, so this second place is a real boost for our morale. Now we have nothing to lose, but everything is possible."

Kubica's Japanese showing also drew high words of praise form both Theissen and the Bavarian concern's technical director Willy Rampf, who admitted that he had 'thought it would be a boring race, but that changed within the first ten seconds...'

"Contrary to all the prophecies, this was an exciting race," the German acknowledged. "Robert had the best result at the start as he managed to take the lead, thanks to a little bit of luck and lots of guts. He was in the lead until the first pit-stops, but after that we weren't able to match the pace of Fernando Alonso, [who] was faster than us here.

"In the third stint Robert defended his position from the attacks by Kimi Raikkonen in a clever and fair way, and claimed his well-earned seventh podium of the season. That was really a brilliant performance by Robert."

"This was a really strong performance from Robert," agreed Theissen. "In the first corner chaos after the start he took the lead. Later in the race he had to let Fernando Alonso go, but defended successfully against Kimi Raikkonen. We are now looking forward to exciting final races in China and Brazil."


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