Like most F1 and motorsport fans I was saddened to read of the horrific crash suffered by Robert Kubica on the Ronde di Andora rally on Sunday morning. Progress reports give cause for optimism but you have to wonder, given the extent of the injuries reported, if he will be able to get back into F1. I do hope so.
I had the pleasure of meeting Robert when he attended a BMW event at Millbrook - I was his host for the day. He was utterly charming and friendly to everyone he came into contact with.
Three things stand out for me from the day; first there was a Polish gentleman attending the event and, despite being rushed from pillar to post, Robert stopped for a lengthy chat and photos with the guy who's absolute delight was obvious to all (Robert is apparently idolised in Poland).
The event was shortly after one of the Fifth Gear series had been filmed on our site and they'd set a 'lap record' round the Outer Handling Circuit in an Aston Martin - however Robert was not interested as he was there to "give people pleasure, not to be fast" (though I have to say he looked pretty damned quick to me!)
Finally, and a very personal experience, I had the honour of joining Robert and his very small entourage for lunch where, of all things, we ended up chatting about computer games! I'm a Colin McRae Rally fan - Robert preferred the Richard Burns version, though even he admitted it was very hard to drive quickly and took a lot of getting used to! Ironic in retrospect that this accident befalls him on a rally.
Any recent F1 fan will I'm sure recall Robert's violent crash at the Canadian Grand Prix in 2007 when, approaching the hairpin, his car made contact with Jarno Trulli's Toyota and slammed into the concrete retaining wall at a reported 186mph (300 kmh). We all watched with horror as the car came to rest convinced that serious injuries was likely to be the best outcome. Yet, after missing just the following Grand Prix as a precaution, Robert was back and finished fourth - one year later this was the venue for his maiden F1 victory. We can only hope the outcome from this latest accident has a similarly positive result.
Wishing you a full and speedy recovery Robert.