ERC - Kubica to miss ERC Austrian opener

Robert Kubica will not contest the revamped European Rally Championship opener in Austria next month, despite recent speculation.

AUTOSPORT revealed last week that Kubica was on the verge of committing to a full-time rallying campaign for 2013 with M-Sport understood to be adapting a Ford Fiesta Regional Rally Car for him.

FIA sources confirmed to AUTOSPORT that a waiver had been granted to develop an adapted gearshift system suitable for his injured right arm, as the Pole is still recovering from his horrendous accident at the start of 2011.

Drivers do not have to contest the full 13-round season to challenge for the ERC title. Under its scoring system, entrants count only their best four scores from the first seven and last six rallies.

Kubica is not on the entry list for the season-opening Janner Rally in Austria on January 3-5, but series co-ordinator Jean-Pierre Nicolas hinted at an influx of entries for rounds two and three in February and March.

"The entry list for the new-look FIA European Rally Championship in 2013 is building up day by day and some of the drivers that were not able to be ready for the Janner Rally due to the early start to the season will join in Latvia or the Canary Islands," he said.

Leading Janner entrants include former World Rally star Francois Delecour, four-time Intercontinental Rally Challenge runner-up Jan Kopecky, and 2011 Monte Carlo winner Bryan Bouffier.

1984 WRC champion Stig Blomqvist will be driving a production Mitsubishi on the snow event.

Kubica has been making his motorsport comeback in rallying this autumn, winning national events in Italy and dominating France's Rally of Var in a Citroen C4 WRC until a co-driver error caused him to crash.

He has so far focused on asphalt rallies. The ERC's first such round is in the Canary Islands in March. The series also visits Kubica's Polish homeland in September.