Robert Kubica will re-join the fold on Rally Mexico today after he rolled his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC car in the penultimate test on Friday.
Kubica had been running fourth overall after SS9, but unfortunately all his hard work was undone through the final short 2.21 km super specials, when he clipped a concrete bollard in SS10. He was ultimately forced to stop and will now continue under the Rally 2 regulations, albeit having dropped down to ninth.
“I was really happy with our driving and we were on course for a really strong result so it is very disappointing that the day had to finish the way that it did,” Kubica said. “We weren't taking any big risks. We had found a rhythm that we were comfortable with and the plan was to continue like that. We were learning a lot and improving the pace, so it is really disappointing that the day ended as it did.
“Of course there is still a long way to go. Our goal is to gain as much knowledge and experience as we can, and that is what we shall continue to do tomorrow.”
“Up until the final couple of stages, we saw a really strong performance from Robert,” added M-Sport team boss, Malcolm Wilson. “It was hugely disappointing for him that the day had to end the way that it did, as he was on course for what would have been a fantastic result on his first visit to Mexico.”
Kubica wasn't the only runner to retire on Friday, however, as fellow M-Sport man, Mikko Hirvonen, Citroen's Kris Meeke and VW's Andreas Mikkelsen also went out - all will re-start under Rally 2 on Saturday, running 12th, 13th and 20th respectively.
“We were having a really good rally so it is really disappointing that today had to end the way that it did. We had made some changes to the set-up in service and I was very happy with the handling of the car – I think you can see that from the times we were setting as we were beginning to really close in on second place. Unfortunately, it was not to be. We had a high temperature reading on the IDU [injector driver unit] before SS8, and that was where our day came to an end. Tomorrow is another day so we just have to see what that brings,” Hirvonen noted.
Meeke went out in SS8 too, but after hitting a rock and damaging the suspension on his DS3 WRC: “My strategy was pretty much the same as in Sweden. I drove at my own pace without worrying too much about the times the other drivers were setting. On some stages, I was fairly comfortable although there was a lot of dust. The roads were also very slippery. On SS8, we hit a rock on a bend. The suspension arm broke. We tried to continue but we decided it was better to stop so that we could rejoin tomorrow in better shape,” stated the Brit, who had been fourth.