LADA LOOKS FORWARD TO PAU RACES AFTER TRICKY QUALIFYING The LADA Sport team from Russia has made useful progress during qualifying for the fourth round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Pau, despite an adventurous session for the...
LADA LOOKS FORWARD TO PAU RACES AFTER TRICKY QUALIFYING
The LADA Sport team from Russia has made useful progress during qualifying for the fourth round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Pau, despite an adventurous session for the n.18 LADA 110 2.0 of Jaap van Lagen.
The tricky street circuit in the south of France is widely acknowledged as one of the most demanding tracks that the championship visits all year, due to a wide variety of obstacles and hazards on the circuit. Despite the well-known complexity of the track, all the drivers enjoy the challenges it presents; particularly as there is no room for error within the tight confines of the barriers.
The weather for free practice and qualifying today was dry and warm but despite the consistent conditions the grip levels still varied massively: a classic characteristic of the Pau layout. For the three LADA Sport entries, the two half-hour free practice sessions were a valuable opportunity to fine-tune the car set-up to the specific demands of Pau.
LADA Sport is only in its first season as a registered manufacturer, but the team already competed at Pau last year in a privateer capacity, gaining some knowledge of the specialised track.
van Lagen (n.18) was the quickest of the LADA runners in 22nd place, but he had a very mixed qualifying session - which ended up with a sizeable impact for his LADA 110 2.0. Nonetheless, the LADA mechanics are confident that it can be fixed in time for tomorrow's races.
"Everything was going well until I hit the kerb a little bit too hard during one lap," said the Dutchman. "I had to slow down to keep the car on track, so I came out of the turn, which was just before a straight, quite slowly. Suddenly, another competitor came out of the turn at full speed and hit me up the back. I immediately came into the pits to inspect the damage and I saw straight away that it was bad: the whole back of the car was pushed almost against the wheels. It was clear that my qualifying was over which was a pity, as I had a good car and I think we would have improved our position on the grid."
Russian driver Kirill Ladygin (n.19) will line up 25th on the grid for race one tomorrow at Pau, which gets underway at 13:00. "The qualifying didn't go so well for me," he reported. "I had a lot of understeer so I didn't succeed in setting a good time. It's a pity, as on a street circuit like this qualifying is very important due to the difficulty of overtaking people."
Just behind him was the third LADA 110 2.0 of driver and team principal Viktor Shapovalov, who steered clear of trouble to get his car safely to the end of the session. "I didn't tale any risks at all," commented the Russian. "I just drove as cleanly as possible. The car felt good and I'm looking forward to tomorrow: on a street circuit like this absolutely anything can happen - as we already saw today with Jaap!"