Former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica has said his main goal on Rally de Portugal is to stay on the road and get through the event in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC car.
The Pole failed to finish in Mexico last month and after a 'difficult event' in Sweden and a DNF on the season opener, Rallye Monte Carlo, he will be looking for a change of fortune in the Algarve.
Kubica made his debut in the World Rally Championship last year in Portugal and will be hoping that experience is of some use.
“Since my return to professional motorsport, this is the first event that I have contested before so I know more or less what to expect,” Kubica noted ahead of the fourth round in the 2014 World Rally Championship and what will be his fifth outing in a WRC car. “Of course there are some different stages and some changes of direction compared to last year. In fact close to 50 per cent of the rally will again be new to me, but we know what to expect in terms of the nature and character of the stages.”
“A lot has changed in the past 12 months,” continued the RK M-Sport WRT man. “Last year Portugal was my first rally on gravel – with zero experience of the surface – in a different, smaller RRC [Regional Rally Car]. To be honest, I think this week will be a bit easier as I have a better idea of what to expect – both from the stages and from the car.”
“From what I remember, Rally de Portugal is a very demanding and difficult event though and I do not expect it to be any different this year. We need to approach it [in a way] as if it were another new rally,” he added.
“All of the WRC events are tricky for me, especially gravel rallies where my experience is limited and I am discovering everything from zero. I remember from last year that this event is especially tricky as there are many crests which are quite demanding. Of course it is a relatively short rally [when compared to the previous outing in Mexico] so it may be a little easier in that respect.
“After a difficult start to the season, I would like to get through this event without any mistakes. As I said, it will not be easy and it will be another new lesson for me.
"We will have to wait and see if past experience will help, but the goal is definitely to stay on the road and drive a nice smooth rally,” he concluded.