LADA SPORT HEADS TO ITALY WITH CONFIDENCE Following on from Lada's best-ever qualifying performance at the last round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Oschersleben, where Jaap van Lagen placed fourth on the grid, Lada Sport now ...
LADA SPORT HEADS TO ITALY WITH CONFIDENCE
Following on from Lada's best-ever qualifying performance at the last round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Oschersleben, where Jaap van Lagen placed fourth on the grid, Lada Sport now heads to Imola for round 10 of the series filled with confidence.
The Italian round of the championship takes place on the legendary Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit at Imola, which for many years hosted the San Marino Grand Prix. The classic circuit, which has been extensively redesigned recently, was a popular fixture when it returned to the FIA WTCC last year. On that occasion James Thompson, who is now a Lada driver, claimed an emotional victory after a thrilling race.
The 4.93-kilometre track contains a wide variety of corners that subject the cars to heavy acceleration and braking. In order to succeed, plenty of torque is needed as well as robust brakes. Unusually, Imola is one of the few major international circuits where the track direction goes anti-clockwise.
Once more Lada will field three new Prioras for the Italian encounter, following a successful debut as a three-car team in Germany two weeks ago. Jaap van Lagen will drive car number 18, Kirill Ladygin will drive car number 19, and James Thompson returns to the cockpit (after missing the last WTCC round due to prior commitments at the Australian touring car championship) in car number 36.
Thompson, the winner in Imola last year, said: "That was certainly a very good memory! I love Italy and the Italians, so it will be a real pleasure to be racing in Imola this weekend. We've been working hard on the Priora ever since it was introduced and hopefully we are beginning to see all our careful work pay off now."
Van Lagen, who qualified in a brilliant fourth for the opening Oschersleben race, commented: "That performance was a real boost for the team as it showed what we could be capable of when the circumstances are right. This weekend in Italy the circumstances may be different, but I think that we have proved that there is real potential in the car. Now it is down to us to figure out the best way to unlock it."
Like van Lagen, Ladygin will be starting only his second race weekend at the wheel of the new Priora. "I really enjoyed driving the car for the first time in Germany, but I still have a lot to learn about it," he said. "Hopefully this extra experience in Italy over the weekend will give me the opportunity to find out more about how to exploit it to the maximum."
The Imola weekend kicks off with a free practice session on Saturday 19 September before qualifying from 15:00-15:20. On Sunday 20 September race one takes place at 12:50 and race two begins at 15:05. Both races will take place over 11 laps and as usual the action will be shown live on Eurosport: Europe's largest television channel. Imola marks the final European round of this year's FIA WTCC, before the crews head off to the Far East with races in Japan and Macau.