The Lada drivers commented on the significant changes in WTCC calendar.
The new and exciting FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) calendar for 2015 will include a number of new circuits, offering a thrilling challenge for the drivers. Lada Sport trio - Rob Huff, James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy – will enter the Championship with a new LADA Vesta model under the brand of Lada SPORT ROSNEFT team. The drivers commented on the significant changes in WTCC calendar.
Rob Huff: “I am quite happy with the calendar changes. One of the most expected races, for sure, will be the Nürburgring round - not only for me, but for the most of drivers. I have participated in endurance races there. In 2014, I had a brilliant experience of competing in the WTCC at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps and 24 Hours of Nürburgring during one weekend. I am sure, my knowledge of the Nordschleife will help a lot.
It will be great to return to Portugal,” said Huff. “I always loved racing on the streets of Porto and I’m sure the new circuit at Villa Real will be just as sensational. Having achieved a record seven wins in Macau, street tracks are reputedly my speciality, so I hope my Lada Sport team and I can get a great result under the Portuguese sunshine in 2015 when the new Lada Vesta WTCC challenger will make its debut.
With the disappointment of Macau coming off the calendar, we needed an exciting replacement, and we are lucky that we got not one, but two amazing new venues in Qatar and Thailand. To have a round in the Middle East was long overdue for the WTCC and for me its extra special as I have family living in the region, so expect a big Huff Army at the final event! As for Thailand, well, it will be like going on holiday rather than racing! I love the country and have enjoyed many trips there, so to get to race in such a great place is a real privilege.”
James Thompson: “I'm very much looking forward to the challenge of the new Vila Real circuit! From what I understand it will be very well supported and there has always been a lot of passion and a good atmosphere in Portugal so it will be a pleasure. Speaking about night race in Qatar, I've raced quite a few times in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) night races, which were floodlit in places, obviously not quite as glamorous as Qatar, but the atmosphere was really good generally and of course it brings a different dimension seeing the brake disks glowing and sparks flying, which is great for the fans.
Thailand will be totally new, I have no idea about the circuit, but I'm sure it will be very well received by everyone and it's great to showcase our championship to another market in Asia. Actually, all new tracks are new markets, so it will be good to present the Lada Vesta there. Nürburgring will be new for many participants, and for me also. It’s a tough and dangerous track, but I believe the FIA will ensure it’s safe and up to standard.”
Mikhail Kozlovskiy: “I am positive about next year’s calendar changes. In 2014, the technical regulations were significantly changed, and a year after they are implemented, we can expect even bigger surge of interest to the Championship and an increase of participants and TV-audience as well. With the new circuits we will also receive a wider geography. In addition to that, for the first time in WTCC history, we will have a night race in Qatar.
Considering a very high level of organizing such events in this country and the eastern traditions of hospitality and luxury, Qatar race is going to be very spectacular. I had the experience of night racing in the 24 Hours Barcelona several years ago, and it will be great to repeat that. I am glad that we are returning to Portugal next year as it’s a great venue for a WTCC race. Portuguese are very devoted motorsport fans and we always receive a warm welcome.
Talking about our previous experience in Porto in 2013, the atmosphere was really great there. The race will take place in mid-July, so we can expect high temperatures, which means we have to pay more attention to tires. As far as I know, the new circuit in Thailand is modern and of a very high level, so there will be a lot of spectators on site and much attention from the media. I am eager to test new Lada Vesta at these new circuits!”