Former F1 driver Robert Kubica says he will make a “change” next year and will be “surprised” if he ends up doing the World Rally Championship again full-time.
The Pole is coming to the end of his third season in the WRC, and while he won the WRC2 title in 2013 in a Citroen DS 3 RRC, since stepping up to the top-level has only taken sporadic points' finishes – his best result this year an eighth place on his home event.
Asked if he can say anything about his plans for 2016 ahead of this weekend's Rally RACCCatalunya-Costa Daurada, the penultimate round in the 2015 World Rally Championship, he replied: “Yes and no... I don't know exactly what I will be doing. I have something in my mind. I would be surprised to do WRC all season – there will be change.
“I don't know if I do it at all or not, for sure there will be something different.”
Pressed on if that will be different to rallying, he added: “Maybe yes, maybe not. I have changed a bit my mind.
“Three years ago I came back after the accident and I was looking for a new challenge – rallying was a very big challenge.
“Next year is the time to have something different and I'll probably end up doing some different things and maybe the rally as well.”
Meanwhile, despite his plans to make a change – possibly returning to circuit racing in combination with a WRC2 campaign – the Pole feels that he has made progress this season, even if the end results with the Fiesta RS WRC sadly don't show that.
“I think I feel much more confident in the car and confident things are getting better. I am coming from a completely different world, a world where I have everything under control. When I start rallies, I have very little under control – so many things are changing so much,” he explained.
“It's still new for me, it's becoming more familiar, but there's still a long way to go. This year has been quite difficult. There have been a few mistakes and also a few failures, which have lost a lot of points and positions.
“Most surprising for me was Sweden and Finland, where I was pretty much on the pace to finish in the top five – unfortunately we had a failure in the car. In Corsica, we were strong and, for the first time, we were able to fight for the podium on pace and not wait for the other cars to retire – but most of the time I retire before them! It's unfortunate, but true.”
As for this weekend, Kubica isn't expecting it to be easy, especially as he had no pre-event test: “Last year was a good day on gravel except for the last stage when I had a spin and lost quite [a] lot of seconds. We were close on gravel last year, which was surprising because the year before I was very slow here. This year will be different, we've had no test at all and the last time I was on gravel was in Finland, which is a long time ago. Pirelli has changed the tyre for the drivers and it could be quite difficult to be straight away on top of everything – and the shakedown stage is not representative of the rally."
"The gravel is very characteristic and tricky here [too] – it's easy to get it wrong, especially on the new stages," he continued. "You know what to expect, [but] then approaching the new stages, it's difficult to judge them all correctly.
“We are running quite behind, which is good on gravel – that's an advantage for us, but also let's see about the dust – three years ago it was quite bad.”