WRC 2: Kubica win nets championship lead

Pole dances past Al Kuwari to the top of the standings

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By www.wrc.com

25 August 2013 - 15:49
WRC 2: Kubica win nets championship (...)

Robert Kubica took victory in the WRC 2 class of Rallye Deutschland after a thrilling battle with Welsh youngster Elfyn Evans.

The duel between the two was finally settled in the Pole’s favour by just 12.9sec, while Hayden Paddon from New Zealand was third, 3min 47sec further back.

The ex-Formula 1 driver was the early pace-setter in his Citroen DS3 RRC, fending off Evans’ Fiesta R5 until stage nine on Saturday when the reigning WRC Academy champion edged ahead.

The class lead swapped four times that day, with Kubica emerging with a 7.8sec advantage ahead of today’s final two stages. The win was Kubica’s third in his debut WRC 2 season - his first on tarmac - and moves him into the lead of the championship with four rallies remaining.

“It has been a good rally and a completely different type of tarmac to what I’m used to,” said Kubica, who revealed that it nearly all went wrong on the last stage.

“I was very nervous because we heard some noise in the transmission. I got distracted and missed a braking point,” he said. “Also the brake pedal wasn’t so good so we had some diff or transmission problems. Fortunately we are here - so all good.”

Evans, 24, was one of the first to congratulate his rival at the finish control. “It’s been great,” he said. “Okay, we’ve had a few ups and downs and we’ve lost a few seconds here and there with various issues, but it’s been a fantastic fight with Robert and I’m looking forward to France very, very much.”

Paddon was satisfied with third in his S2000 specification Skoda Fabia – especially after a broken alternator belt almost took him out of the competition on the opening day.

“Overall it’s been a good weekend, and I think even if we didn’t have the problem would have finished in the same position,” he said.

“We’ve achieved everything we can. We can’t compete with the guys with turbos at this stage but I’m pleased with our pace. I’ve driven one of those cars and I know the difference - so it’s encouraging for the future I think.”

Local favourite Sepp Wiegand was fourth in another Skoda Fabia, but more than 10 minutes behind the lead trio after going off into a tree on Stage 12 and breaking his car’s suspension. Despite the incident, Wiegand remained positive about his weekend.

“I think it was good – especially the fight with Hayden yesterday,” he said. “After my crash I didn’t fight because it made no sense with such a big gap. Fourth place is better than nothing…”

Karl Kruuda, who became the rally’s first retirement when his car fell off the start ramp on Thursday, was fifth. Rashid Al Ketbi was sixth, with Ricardo Trivino seventh, Marco Vallario eighth and Carlos Fessman the final WRC 2 runner in ninth.

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