For the upcoming Rally Mexico one of my picks in podium predictions and fantasy leagues and imaginary series will, of course, be Robert Kubica. As a good fanboy I will put his name on the list despite the fact that he did not bring me any points of virtual glory so far this year. I do hope I’m not jinxing him when I put his name on those rosters. Am I?
What Kubica is going through this year can simply be described as “do you think anyone would do better with this amount of proper competitive rally experience upon being sat in a WRC car to do a full season?”. Obviously, Robert does not feel he needs to spend more time dealing with “stepping stones” or doing another season of WRC2 or maybe ERC, and it would not make too much sense if he did.
Essentially, Kubica is learning, constantly. Every single stage, kilometer and pace note is like a lesson, and it shows. You can be very fast on one section but in order to be competitive you must be fast AND consistent. And consistency in rally is a bitch with a capital B. To make pace notes, to hear pace notes, to understand pace notes and finally to apply pace notes to driving takes A LOT of practice and experience. For professional or at least long term rally drivers it is like breathing, a reflex, but if you’re trying to fast-forward your way into the sport, there will be some bumps along the way. Some of them will have “pace note yo” written all over them.
Quick search on this blog will probably reveal at least one or two posts with these exact arguments and reasons, but I cannot help it – occassionally I must remind myself just where Kubica really stands at the moment.
We will soon be able to see if he is ready to put some of the lessons he learned to good use. Rally Mexico is getting closer and so the pre-event testing is on the way in all teams. Kubica was busy as well, throwing his Fiesta across very fun and intense looking piece of terrain. Video reveals he even spent some time with wheels on the ground, but otherwise this was obviously a suspension setup test, for all the jumps in Mexico and later in Portugal.
I love PET videos, they really are great because they show us what these guys can do once they’re familiar with the road. Which is exactly why pre-event tests are also bad because they cannot indicate real spead. That’s what rallies are for.