- Poland's Robert Kubica continues to make progress in an attempt to return to professional racing after suffering horrendous injuries in a crash.
- Kubica was on the verge of Formula 1 stardom when he was seriously injured in a rally crash in February 2011.
- He has returned to racing in rallies and has won two races.
ERBA, Italy — Poland's first Formula 1 driver, Robert Kubica, will compete in the Rally di Como next week as he continues his comeback from an accident that nearly ended his racing career.
Kubica, 27, suffered serious arm and leg injuries when his Skoda Fabia slammed into a retaining barrier during the Ronde di Andora Rally on February 6, 2011. Extensive surgeries averted the amputation of his right arm.
A return to F1, where Kubica scored a victory in the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix driving for Sauber, may never happen, but Kubica has been named as a potential test driver for Pirelli, the F1 tire supplier. And he is vigorously pursuing a return to racing at some level.
Kubica had begun participating in rally events as a sideline to his blossoming F1 career. He was preparing to begin his second season with the Renault F1 team when his fateful crash near the northern Italian village of Testico occurred.
In an ironic twist, it is rally that is providing the path for Kubica's comeback. He resumed competitive driving in September and has won two races. In another bit of irony, both those victories came in races in Italy.
Kubica will race in Erba in the race near Lake Como and again in the Rallye du Var in France this month in a Citroën C4 WRC, a top-level machine similar to the one driven by World Rally Championship dominator Sebastian Loeb. Citroen issued a statement on Tuesday touting Kubica's return.
"I can't wait to drive a car that is quick and has been as successful as the C4 WRC," Kubica said.
Kubica told Autosprint magazine last month that a return to driving has enhanced his rehabilitation.
"It's a sort of active rehabilitation that isn't just physical," he said. "Competing also helps me mentally and gives me morale, and winning is also a good medicine."
Kubica said he plans to compete "for a full championship at the highest possible level" in 2013.
There have been setbacks. Kubica and his navigator escaped injury in a crash September 17 during the San Martino di Castrozza Rally when their Subaru Impreza WRC veered off course and crashed.
A more serious incident occurred in January when Kubica slipped on ice and fell, re-injuring the leg that was broken in the 2011 crash.
Kubica's performance slumped along with the fortunes of the Sauber team after his maiden victory, but in 2010 he was signed by the resurgent Renault team. He had podium finishes at Australia and Belgium and finished 8th in driver points, and expectations were high for the promising driver as the 2011 season approached.
Edmunds says: Kubica's extended absence eventually provided the opportunity for Kimi Räikkönen's return to F1. Considering Räikkönen's victory last week in Abu Dhabi, there are obvious "what if" scenarios to ponder. Best of luck to Kubica in his comeback.