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Back To The Light

It’s been a dark and bewildering six years for Robert Kubica,since his near-fatal rallying accident in 2011. But in dazzling Spanish sunshine, he made a much longed-for F1 return. We were there to witness it…

Kubica’s first flying lap of the track, which came shortly after 9am on 6 June 2017, is a truly ecstatic moment – not least because it seems scarcely imaginable that it is even happening. Just over six years ago, on Sunday 6 February 2011, Kubica’s career – and, it seemed possible, his life – had come to a sickening halt in a ghastly crash on the Ronde di Andora rally in northern Italy. He’d been competing ‘for fun’ and to keep himself prickle-sharp in preparation for the 2011 F1 season, his second year with Renault F1.

Just three days before his crash, he’d set the fastest time of the Formula 1 season’s first test at this very circuit and he looked certain to play a major role in the grand prix year ahead. Massively respected by his peers (Fernando Alonso described him as “the best of all of us”) and emerging as a cult hero thanks to his relentless, hammer-hard speed, Robert Kubica seemed to be a world champion in waiting. Ferrari were rumoured to have secured his services for 2012.

WORDS Andrew Rowlinson



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