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Kubica enjoys successful DTM test day

Poland’s Robert Kubica yesterday completed his first day of circuit testing since sustaining serious injuries in a rally crash in February 2011. Kubica drove a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, and reported afterwards that his day had gone well.

Robert Kubica: “My first day of testing in a DTM car was great fun and I learned a lot about the series and the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. The first installation lap was in the dry, then a few heavy showers of rain came down and we had to wait for the track to dry out. All in all, it was a good experience, getting to know the car in different weather conditions. I was able to get to grips with the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé and felt very comfortable in the car, even though after my long break it meant adjusting to the high downforce that a state-of-the art DTM race car produces. I’m very pleased with my performance on this first day of DTM testing and had no problems whatsoever in the car.”

During a day that was interrupted by early showers, Kubica completed 114 laps of the circuit, equivalent to 456.570 kilometres, which is approximately one and a half Formula One race distances and comfortably more than two DTM race distances. Mercedes did not quote lap times in their press release, but a Polish source suggested that Kubica’s times were within a few tenths of experienced DTM driver Gary Paffett, which is very impressive for Kubica’s first test in a downforce-producing car in two years.

Whether or not Kubica will be able to drive a single-seater remains to be seen – there are still doubts about the mobility of his right arm in the confined space of a Formula One cockpit. Nonetheless, his comfort in a DTM car indicates that he is fit for racing at a high level and that means it should not be long before Robert Kubica is competing on a race track once again.

See photos of Kubica’s DTM test: Kubica tests Merc DTM car – photo gallery

Kubica to test DTM car

Robert Kubica‘s recovery from an horrific rally crash in 2011 takes an important step this week – the Polish driver will be testing a Mercedes DTM car in Valencia, Spain.

Formula One 2010 Rd.3 Malaysian GP: Robert Kub...

Formula One 2010 Rd.3 Malaysian GP: Robert Kubica (Renault) at autograph session on Sunday. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kubica suffered severe injuries to his right arm when he crashed in the Ronde di Andora rally on 6 February 2011. His forearm was partially severed, which required extensive surgery and rehabilitation. He missed the 2011 and 2012 Formula One seasons as a result of his injuries, and is still on the road to recovery, although it is not clear whether or not he will be able to drive an F1 car again.

As part of Kubica’s rehabilitation, he started competing in minor rallies in the latter part of 2012. His return to rallying was successful, with victory in the Ronde Gomitolo Di Lana in September 2012. The next step is a return to cars that produce significant downforce, and that is where Mercedes and DTM come in to the picture. The Group C DTM cars produce substantial downforce, which increases the arm strength required to steer the cars.

If Kubica can cope with driving the DTM car, then a return to single-seaters could be considered, although he will likely still have difficulty using his injured arm in the narrow confines of a single-seater cockpit, where wrist flexibility – one of the major problems resulting from Kubica’s injuries – is crucial for cornering.

Kubica’s legions of fans are eager to see him return to Formula One. A DTM test could be a step back towards F1, but even if that is not possible it is still a welcome return to the track for the the popular Pole.

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