Thompson aims for strong home result at Brands Hatch Lada Sport's latest recruit, two-time British Touring Car Champion James Thompson, is aiming for a strong result on home territory when he lines up for round eight of the World Touring Car...
Thompson aims for strong home result at Brands Hatch
Lada Sport's latest recruit, two-time British Touring Car Champion James Thompson, is aiming for a strong result on home territory when he lines up for round eight of the World Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch this weekend: a circuit on which he is already well-acquainted with success.
Thompson will once more drive the brand new Lada Priora, following its debut in Portugal two weeks ago. His team mates Jaap van Lagen and Kirill Ladygin will drive for the last time the existing Lada 110 2.0 World Touring Car, which the new Priora replaces.
The new Priora came to the previous round in Porto with no testing distance behind it, but now the entire Lada Sport team is hoping to capitalise upon the lessons learned in Portugal to seal a strong result in England. Thompson's intimate knowledge of the Brands Hatch circuit can only help, but nobody is under any illusions about the scale of the task ahead. There is still a long way to go to be on top level, but luckily the Priora already lost some weight compared to the Porto outfit.
On paper the Brands Hatch Indy circuit should also be slightly better suited to the Priora than Porto was, as it contains more sweeping bends as opposed to the fast straights and tight corners of the Portuguese street circuit. As a former home of the British Grand Prix and an extremely popular motorsport venue for the British public, Brands Hatch promises to provide an exciting weekend of action for the entire Lada Sport team -- but especially for James Thompson.
Thompson (n.36) commented: "There's nothing like competing at home, is there? I enjoyed my first outing with the Priora in Portugal and I hope that we can put some of the lessons we learned there to good effect at Brands Hatch. Our first races allowed us to identify the main areas of development needed, and now we can embark on the long process of putting all these procedures in place. Of course it won't be an easy task, but thanks to the commitment and dedication of the entire Lada Sport team, I am sure that we can continue to make useful progress."
Dutch driver Jaap van Lagen (n.18) was unlucky at the last round, being eliminated from the weekend's action by an accident on the opening lap of race one that bent his car's chassis. "I'm hoping to make up for that disappointment with a good performance at Brands Hatch," he said. "It's a circuit that I know and like, so I am hoping that this will work in our favour. I am sure that we will be able to use our past experience there to good effect."
Russia's Kirill Ladygin (n.19) has so far recorded the best overall result for Lada this year, and he is aiming once more to get the car towards the middle of the grid in what is still only Lada Sport's first full year of competition as a registered manufacturer. Ladygin also has experience of Brands Hatch from last year, which will prove invaluable on this very specialised circuit.
"We face a tough task, but we are growing in confidence and knowledge all the time," he explained. "I think if we have a good run with no problems this could well be a circuit that suits us."
The Brands Hatch race weekend gets underway with two free practice sessions on Saturday morning followed by qualifying from 15:00-15:20. Race one on Sunday starts at 11:50 and runs for half an hour. The second race, which is identical in length, starts at 14:05.