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LONDON (Reuters) - Former Formula One driver Robert Kubica crashed out of Wales Rally GB, his debut at the top level of rallying, on Friday after rolling his Citroen on to its roof.
The Pole was making his first appearance at the wheel of a full factory specification car after winning the second tier WRC 2 championship and had been in seventh place after the opening leg of the season-ending event.
Organizers said he slid off the road and rolled on stage four. Neither the Pole nor Italian co-driver Michele Ferrara were hurt and they could rejoin the rally on Saturday, albeit with hefty time penalties.
Apart from coming to terms with unfamiliar terrain, Kubica split with Polish co-driver Maciek Baran before the event and had spoken earlier in the week about having to adapt to pace notes in Italian rather than Polish.
"Although I have spoken Italian since I was very young, it won't be easy to switch languages, especially as I have made extensive changes to my pace notes system this season," he said.
The former BMW-Sauber and Renault F1 driver has been competing with a modified gear selector system to compensate for the lack of strength in his right hand after a near-fatal rally crash partially severed his forearm in early 2011.
He has not competed in Formula One since 2010.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Stephen Wood