The LADA Sport LUKOIL drivers endured a tough race in round eight of the World Touring Car Championship, held in Argentina. For the first time, two LADA Granta cars were in the top six after the warm-up: Michael Kozlovskiy in fourth and James Thompson in sixth.
In Race 1 LADA Sport LUKOIL drivers James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy started from 10th and 21st positions respectively. James, having overtaken several cars to make up some positions, damaged his LADA Granta in a battle with Tom Coronel, and after eight laps the Englishman had to retire from the race.
Michael Kozlovskiy made a perfect start and also overtook some of the cars ahead of him, but after his LADA Granta was hit from behind, the rear suspension was broken and Mikhail was also forced to come into the pits and out of the race.
In Race 2 the Russian driver showed good pace. Having started from 23rd he managed to finish 16th thanks to some noticeable overtaking moves. James held eighth place for most of the race, but was also forced into the pit garage with technical problems.
James Thompson: “The reliability of the car has been good through the whole of the first part of the season, so I reckon that the drive-shaft problems we experienced were caused by the contact we had in both races. Anyway, I’m sure we’ll soon get to the bottom of it.
On the whole, I can say that the pace of the car and its overall performance are excellent now. Also, this has been a great circuit that’s really interesting and fast: we actually reached a top speed of 240kph here and we were in the top 10 in both races. To sum it up, there were definitely more positive moments than negative ones this weekend, which is encouraging. Our expectations grow with every round”.
Mikhail Kozlovskiy: ”In Race 1 I had a good start and I was able to climb up into the midfield more or less straight from the start. But coming out of the first corner I made contact with one of the other competitors and picked up some damage to the rear suspension. In Race 2, probably due to this damage, I had some problems with the balance of the car, but I was still able to fight for a good place.
On the whole, the pace of the car was good all weekend. Of course, I had expected to make Q2 to secure a better start position on the grid – had it happened, then the whole story could have been very different. I really liked the track: it’s rather unusual as there are different types of corners here – blind corners, corners with elevations…very enjoyable for racing”.
(*) Mikhail was 18th in Q1 but his time was cancelled due to a breach of parc ferme rules.