LADA ENCOURAGED BY SUCCESSFUL ZOLDER TEST Lada Sport, which is competing in its first season of the FIA World Touring Car Championship as a registered manufacturer this year, has benefitted from a successful test at the Zolder circuit in...
LADA ENCOURAGED BY SUCCESSFUL ZOLDER TEST
Lada Sport, which is competing in its first season of the FIA World Touring Car Championship as a registered manufacturer this year, has benefitted from a successful test at the Zolder circuit in Belgium last Thursday.
The Russian Bears team that runs the factory Lada squad now has a European base close to Zolder, making the challenging Belgian track an ideal venue for testing and development.
Lada introduced its promising new Priora model in Portugal last month, where two-time British touring car champion James Thompson joined the team. For Portugal and the following round in Great Britain just one Priora was entered for Thompson alongside two examples of the existing 110 2.0 touring car for Dutch driver Jaap van Lagen and Russia's Kirill Ladygin. From the next round in Germany onwards, all the drivers are scheduled to have the new Priora at their disposal.
During the back-to-back Zolder test, Thompson drove the Priora while van Lagen took the wheel of the 110, in order to assess the most recent developments to the new car.
The latest evolutions to the Priora, which is only two races old, mostly concern the car's suspension. As a result of these developments, Thompson built up more confidence with the car and was able to adapt it better to suit his driving style.
Van Lagen concentrated on general set-up work, in preparation for the next races in Oschersleben (Germany) and Imola (Italy). There were very few cars out on track in Zolder during the test day and this meant that Lada Sport was able to complete several laps and meet all its objectives. Temperatures remained extremely warm, in the region of 30 degrees Centigrade.
Thompson will be forced to miss the Oschersleben race next month due to his commitments in the Australian V8 Supercar championship, which were already in place before he signed for Lada. He will be replaced by team principal and accomplished driver Viktor Shapovalov, who started the FIA WTCC season before Thompson came on board.
Shapovalov commented: "It was an interesting test day in Zolder and we completed a lot of extremely useful work. For us, Zolder is a very convenient solution as it is located just 30 minutes away from our new workshop in Grobbendonk. Over the course of the day we were able to try out various different solutions, which showed a lot of potential. We will continue now to work hard on development in order to keep on improving the car all the way to the end of the season."
Lada Sport has another test scheduled at Magny-Cours in France on August 22, which will focus on engine work. The next round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship at Oschersleben in Germany will take place from September 5-6.
-credit: lada sport