LADA claims best ever result in FIA WTCC after top five finish on home territory

LADA claims best ever result in FIA WTCC after top five finish on home territory

10.06.2013: The sixth round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Moscow over the weekend brought

The sixth round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Moscow over the weekend brought the best ever result for LADA Sport LUKOIL since the team began its WTCC programme back in 2009. Moscow was also the second race in a row where LADA was the fastest team in the pre-race warm-up.

British driver James Thompson finished fifth in the first race and scored 10 points in the drivers’ championship. Up to now, the team could boast two sixth place finishes: the first was in 2009 when Thompson drove a LADA Priora in Imola and the second was at last month’s WTCC round in Austria.

LADA President Igor Komarov congratulated the team on their best ever finish and said that the result is set to be a sign of even better things to come. The head of Russia’s biggest car manufacturer also visited the LADA Sport LUKOIL garage and met both drivers.

Mikhail Kozlovskiy finished 16th in race one, starting from 18th place. However, due to a 30-second penalty for three drivers after a jump start, Kozlovskiy had to settle for 14th position. The driver from St Petersburg showed excellent pace in Q1 but due to a mistake under braking, he was unable to qualify any higher.

But Kozlovskiy contributed to his teammate’s fantastic qualifying result by giving him a tow. Thanks to the use of slipstreaming, Thompson was able to secure fifth in Q1 and make it through to Q2.

Race two did not fare so well for the team. Thompson started fourth and was trying to fight for third with Tarquini and Coronel, but contact with one of the drivers pushed the Englishman off the track. As a result, the car was slightly damaged and Thompson was unable finish the race. Mikhail also did not make it past the chequered flag. After contact with another competitor, he had a technical problem with the car.

Former British Touring Car Champion James Thompson commented:
“Despite the incident in the second race, I am happy with how the weekend has gone. It was a really strong performance on our home track: sixth in Q2, first in warm-up and fifth in race one. We have a lot of reasons to be feeling very happy and proud!

We also really took the fight to the some of the top drivers in the second race and I’m really grateful to the whole team for all the work they have done. I would also like to thank Mikhail for his teamwork in Q1 when we used slipstreaming tactics: he was fast enough for me to make the very most of it. On the whole, Russia was a great event for us and I can’t wait for the next race in Portugal now.”

Team driver Mikhail Kozlovskiy added:
“Of course, it’s always nice to race at our home track, especially because it is such a prestigious circuit. It’s a pity that I couldn’t finish the second race as I was able to make up some places and it was possible to get a decent result. But on the first lap I had a contact with one of the drivers and the front-right steering joint was broken.

The car couldn’t turn left any more so I had to return to the pits. But on a positive note, every race weekend has given me lots of valuable experience and the Race of Russia was very positive for the team: we showed some very good team-work in Q1 with James. We are also continually improving the car and the evolution of LADA Granta is obvious for all to see. I still believe that our best results lie ahead!”

Team principal Victor Shapovalov concluded:
“To summarise the sixth round, and the first half of the season, I can conclude that the team has made steady progress in terms of the car’s speed and reliability. We have had one top five finish, two top 10 finishes (in Morocco and Austria), and fastest warm-up times in both Austria and Russia.

These results can’t be down to luck alone – it’s the result of hard work from the engineers, mechanics and drivers. I am delighted that we have showed that the team and the car are able to fight in the top five with the strongest teams competing on the world stage. We’re feeling optimistic about the future.”

LADA gained 35 points in the manufacturers’ championship and the team now has a total of 283 points after six rounds. The next race takes place in Portugal from 29-30 June.

Svetlana Lysyakova- photos Lada


10.06.2013 / MaP

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