Marcus Gronholm is backing former F1 driver Robert Kubica to succeed in the WRC ahead of the Pole's maiden full season at the top level.
Kubica, who won the WRC2 title last year, will contest all 13 rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship this year piloting a Lotos-supported M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC. The 29-year-old recently won the Jannerrallye, the opening round of the 2014 FIA European Rally Championship season by 19.9 seconds, after a thrilling final-stage decider [see separate story - HERE
] and Gronholm was impressed by what he saw.
“It's really difficult to predict,” Gronholm replied when asked how far Kubica can go in rallying, “but everything is possible. He needs time to learn but he has the speed, he just needs more experience.”
Gronholom was at the Jannerrallye last weekend working as an expert commentator for Eurosport
on its coverage of the Austrian event. During his visit, the Finn spoke to several drivers to offer useful advice about driving on the ice-coated stages. Gronholm also spent time meeting fans and signing autographs.
“Jean-Pierre Nicolas, my former boss when we were at Peugeot Sport, called me and asked me if I would like to do some work [here] and have a look. I have never been here and I wanted to see how it looked so it's a nice experience,” he continued.
“For me it's much easier not to be driving [though] when there are difficult conditions [and] having to fight for the final seconds,” added the two-time WRC champion. “But it's really good for the drivers for the learning, especially Robert.”
“My job [today, now I am not rallying] is running the shopping centre we have in Finland and all the things around this. Then we have a little bit of work in rallycross in the USA with a driver I help who is stepping up and there are sponsors involved.
"There are many other small things too, so I'm busy."