Lada Priora on second row in Oschersleben! The Lada Sport team has recorded its best-ever qualifying session in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, as for the first time a full complement of the all-new Priora race cars has taken to the...
Lada Priora on second row in Oschersleben!
The Lada Sport team has recorded its best-ever qualifying session in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, as for the first time a full complement of the all-new Priora race cars has taken to the track at Oberschleben in Germany. Qualifying for this, the ninth of 12 WTCC events on this year's calendar, saw Dutch ace Jaap van Lagen qualify his car in fourth position!
In a strategically-challenging day, Jaap van Lagen and the Lada Sport team excelled together, logging the eighth fastest time in the opening session before rain fell on the twisting German circuit. When the downpour ended for the second qualifying session the track was half dry in parts, and the team opted to stay on dry weather tyres -- gambling on van Lagen's car control to set a strong time.
The strategy was inspired, with the rapid Dutchman putting the Priora on the second row of the grid for the first of tomorrow's two races. An incredible result for van Lagen's first outing with the Priora.
"This is really a fantastic result!" van Lagen enthused. "We knew it was a gamble but ok that was for everybody the same! I started here for the first time with the Priora and the guys did a fantastic job in building the car for this race. We've been waiting for a result like this since the beginning of the year because this is really motivating for the whole team! "
Team-mate Kiril Ladygin followed the same strategy as van Lagen in the two sessions, but the two-time Lada Cup champion's challenge was blunted after an off-track moment and he will start tomorrow's first race from 27th on the grid. Meanwhile team principal Victor Shapovalov's return to the cockpit netted him 25th place, having set his benchmark time earlier in the session before the rain fell and electing to focus on his team management role -- with tremendous results.
"This is a big step forward for Lada's WTCC presence, and a big thank you to Jaap who did a great job," Shapovalov said. " I think this proves we are working in the right direction and this is a good push for the team to continue their hard work. Tomorrow in the race everything can happen but for us the result of today is already a big achievement."
Tomorrow sees two 14-lap races around the 3.7km Oberschleben circuit in which the top eight finishing positions for Race 1 will be reversed for Race 2. As team principal Shapovalov stated, there is sure to be plenty of action throughout the field -- with the trio of Lada Prioras playing a strong role throughout. Race 1 takes place at 12:50 C.E.T. and Race 2 begins at 15:05, and all the action will be shown live on Eurosport: Europe's largest television channel.
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