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Featured Robert Kubica Withdraws from WEC / Le Mans 2017 Campaign

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Paul Jeffrey, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment News Editor Staff Premium

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    Robert Kubica LMP1 WEC Withdrawn 2.jpg
    Robert Kubica has revealed his plans for a 2017 World Endurance campaign and Le Mans 24 Hour drive have hit the skids, leaving the Polish superstar without a drive this season.


    In a surprise announcement on the run up to the first round of the 2017 World Endurance Championship at Silverstone, 32 year old Robert Kubica has confirmed he has withdrawn from his WEC drive with the Colin Kolles run ByKolles CLM P1/01 LMP 1 squad.

    2017 was to mark the full time return to track action for the former Formula One star Kubica, who's open wheel career was cruelly cut short following a freak accident at the beginning of 2011 when the Polish star crashed his Skoda Fabia on the Ronde di Andora rally and severely damaged his right hand. Kubica's restricted movement after recovering meant it was almost impossible for him to drive a single-seater again.

    The former Grand Prix winner has fought admirably to return to full time competitive motorsport action and has for several years now appeared in a variety of WRC and WRC 2 spec rally events, occasionally showing the world his blistering pace and car control, although all too often pushing beyond his and the cars limits and finding himself better acquainted with the stage scenery than he would ideally have liked.

    Despite the injury and restriction of movement still suffered by Kubica to this day, the super fast Pole has been embarking on a phased return to circuit racing in recent months, successfully return to the cockpit of a track machine, most notably at the Mugello 12 Hours behind the wheel of a Mercedes AMG GT3 and later securing a podium at Spa in the penultimate round of the highly competitive Renault Sport Trophy Series.

    Towards the end of 2016 Kubica impressed many seasoned racing professionals when he straped himself into the cockpit of the ByKolles privateer LMP1 team for the World Endurance Championship season ending rookies test at Bahrain. Kubica would immediately feel at home in the car and went on to lap quicker than team's regular drivers managed during the corresponding race weekend.

    Robert Kubica ByKolles WEC LMP1 Team.jpg

    Kubica's past achievements and immediate form were not lost on team principle Colin Kolles who was quick to secure the drivers signature to race alongside Britain's Oliver Webb in the Nissan-powered CLM P1/01 LMP1 prototype, with a full time drive in the 2017 WEC secured alongside a debut in this years 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in June.

    Unfortunately problems hampered the ByKolles outfit throughout the WEC prologue event and Kubica found himself unable to have the opportunity to sample the car again before the racing action is due to begin at Silverstone for round 1 on Sunday 16th April. With these problems behind him, it appears as though Kubica has decided the timing is right to call an end to his track comeback and give the team the opportunity to fill the second driver role alongside Webb before the first round begins in a few days time.

    Speaking from a post on his Facebook profile, Kubica confirmed all plans for this season have been withdrawn with immediate effect:

    "After the Prologue, I have decided to interrupt my racing program with the ByKolles team in LMP1. Therefore, I will not take part in the upcoming WEC Silverstone opening round and in the other WEC races. It has been a hard decision to step down and so lose the opportunity to join such a challenging and competitive Championship, but I hope this will not be a definitive goodbye.

    Robert"
    How this surprise announcement will effect preparations from the ByKolles team remain to be seen. With only Webb signed up for the new season, it leaves the squad in an uncertain position with only 3 days to go before practice begins at Silverstone. Following the shock withdrawal of Audi at the end of 2016 and several driver changes during the off season there in no shortage of talented drivers available to step into the seat at short notice, so hope remains that ByKolles will be able to make the grid on time and prop up what is looking to be one of the smallest LMP1 grids in recent seasons.

    As for Kubica himself, the driver claims his stepping down from the drive is not the final chapter in his track racing career, and his plan still remains to return to the circuit in a full time capacity in the near future. However with obvious uncertainty surrounding his substantial past injury, and a lack of any concrete reason as to why he is giving up the reigns at ByKolles, it will be an interesting few months as fans await news of the next move from a man Lewis Hamilton once reportedly confided to be the only driver he fears racing against on outright race pace.

    I hope this isn't the last we see of Kubica on a race track in a major championship, as a driver of his undoubted speed deserves far more from a career than he has currently managed to achieve.

    We love motorsport and hope you do too. Head on over to the Motorsport sub forum here at RaceDepartment and get yourself involved with the community. Post a question, share a picture or just shoot the breeze for a while, if it's about cars (or bikes for that matter) then we want to hear what you have to say! Pop along and get yourself involved in the conversation today!

    Are you disappointed by the news of Kubica's withdrawal from WEC? Do you think this is the last we will see of the Polish driver in prototype racing? Do you think Kubica could of won a World Championship in Formula One? Let us know in the comments section below!
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
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  2. Gui Cramer

    Gui Cramer

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    Anything with Kolles' name raises a flag. I hope Kubica is able to return in the near future, I'd love to see him at Le Mans. He'd be my favorite endurance racer.
     
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  3. wright

    wright

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    The only thing he wanted from the team was to be able to drive the car, he didn't even care that the car was totally not competitive. And they couldn't provide even that. Constructing the car in pits garage while other teams test their cars isn't professional at all and having parts like back wing that falls apart after two laps, causing decision of resigning from tests after those laps, is a sign of deep technical problems. I hope he has something good waiting for him for the next season.
     
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  4. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment News Editor Staff Premium

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    Exactly this.

    Kubica is far too good to be left doing nothing. I would of loved to see him in LMP1 and remain hopeful he'll be back before he gets too old to have a long career in that class.

    Top driver, still missed today.
     
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  5. Blimey

    Blimey
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    Blancpain is his last option.
     
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  6. MustartMatters

    MustartMatters

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    Why :(
     
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  7. MustartMatters

    MustartMatters

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    I was so happy for Kubica, I once remembered dreaming to have Seb and Robert in Ferrari...
    Robert is will forever be the most unfulfilled stars
     
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  8. Gui Cramer

    Gui Cramer

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    He's only 32 and his fitness is great. He's one of maybe 5 proper, true natural talents that came around the top level of motorsports in the past 10 years, and in endurance racing it is proven that drivers can go into their 40's. He can't lay about without anything but if he lands something reasonable, he should be back by the time he's 35.
     
  9. snyperal

    snyperal
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    One of my favourite drivers, I was looking forward to reading about his wec exploits, hopefully he'll get a seat somewhere soon.
     
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  10. ThatRacingGuy

    ThatRacingGuy
    I drove 88 MPH last night... weird stuff happened

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    Good that he left, Kolles is a flat out Criminal
     
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  11. MustartMatters

    MustartMatters

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    He is a wanker I agree.
     
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  12. Piotr

    Piotr
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    I am not surprised after what I read about how Monza test went for them.
     
  13. Sky

    Sky

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    Sounds sensible to walk away.

    Getting lapped by p2s then having the car disintigrate around you is no ones idea of fun
     
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  14. Iceman_23

    Iceman_23
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    My brother still without the job :( Maybe the team wasn't professional enough ...

    Unfortunately F1 is still far away from him , but much closer to F1 than in 2011. :( He is practising every day on rfactor2 and doing everthing to stay in motorsport. I hope that one day he will come to F1 but he is each day older. But at this moment If he would beeing in Blancpain GT series or in WEC it will be great oportunity to check his racing skills and become better and better.

    All in Poland put hopes in him , everybody are givin support not hangs dogs on him. King of the steering wheel.
     
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  15. ermo

    ermo

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    Can't remember the article, but one of the things Robert stated very clearly prior to signing is that if he didn't feel that he was able to give it his all after a successful first test (re. injury, restriction of movement, extra cockpit space etc.), he'd call it quits on the spot.

    Kolles was well aware that this could happen, and if the rumours are true about the car not being anywhere near ready, you can't blame Robert for stepping down.

    Sad, but it is what it is.
     
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  16. Enpassant

    Enpassant

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  17. Blimey

    Blimey
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    he may be fit to drive in F1, but his hand isn't.
     
  18. Gui Cramer

    Gui Cramer

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    Back in a WEC-contending machine, not F1. Unless the steering wheel tech is banned or greatly reduced, he is sadly out.
     
  19. kondor999

    kondor999

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    This is sad. I have little doubt that Kubica was a future world champion. Unlike others, he was always quick, even in relatively uncompetitive cars.

    To me, that's always the true measure of talent: Can the driver deliver results far beyond what the car should be able to do? Senna 1984. Kubica 2010. Verstappen 2015.

    Sic transit gloria mundi...
     
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  20. Helldriver

    Helldriver

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    Maybe it´s because of Kolles, maybe there´s another reason.
    Maybe Robert is going to get some more surgerys this year to improve the movement of his arm.
    We just have to wait and see what happens next. Hopefully hes back on track soon.