Momentous day as LADA claims maiden WTCC podium in Argentina

For nine of the twelve laps Huff looked entirely in control, pulling out a four-second lead over the brawling Citroens and Hondas.

LADA Sport LUKOIL announced its arrival on the world stage of motorsport as the LADA Granta driven by Rob Huff claimed a sensational second place at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo on Sunday (3 August).

Following a great seventh place in the day’s first race, Huff made the most of the first LADA pole position to lead the race from the start and pull away from a class field in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).

For nine of the twelve laps Huff looked entirely in control, pulling out a four-second lead over the brawling Citroens and Hondas.

Huff knew he would have his work cut out to defend his lead once the Citroen of local hero and race one winner Jose Maria Lopez cleared the Hondas that sat in second and third places and, on lap ten, the inevitable happened.

That was a fantastic weekend for the team!

James Thompson

Aware of the significance of LADA’s first podium in five years of WTCC competition, Huff chose not to put up too much of a fight and allowed the Argentinian to take the lead, preserving his advantage over the chasing pack.

As the LADA Sport LUKOIL Granta crossed the line to make history, the team, whose tireless efforts had contributed to the result as much as Huff’s driving prowess, erupted into scenes of jubilation that continued as Huff sprayed the champagne over the enthusiastic crowd below.

To top an amazing day, the second LADA Sport Granta driven by long-standing LADA driver, James Thompson, also finished in the points, finishing 10th in race one and 9th in race two, while young Russian Mikhail Kozlovskiy was classified 14th and 11th in the final classification.

LADA Sport LUKOIL Team Principal, Victor Shapolov, beamed a smile as he took the congratulations and said: “I am very, very happy! A great result for the team and a reward for the efforts we have put in this season, especially since the last race. This is an incredible day that makes us very proud.”

Former World Champion Huff, in his first season for the LADA Sport LUKOIL team, enjoyed the moment as much as any during his ten-years at the pinnacle of international touring car racing in the WTCC, saying: “I am absolutely delighted with this result. We could have won, but I knew how much this second place would mean for the team, so I made sure we got it. Honestly, I enjoyed the podium as much as any I have had before and it was so nice to celebrate with the team who earned this result through tireless effort and dedication.”

Thompson added: “That was a fantastic weekend for the team! I am very happy for Rob (Huff) and it’s a well-deserved podium for all of us!  All the cars performed excellently this weekend I was happy to score points again, satisfied with the car’s drivability, pace and consistency.”

Kozlovskiy said: “The changes made to the car were very efficient, and Rob’s second place confirmed this. My pace in Saturday’s (2 August) free practice sessions was very good; unfortunately, not all the things went well for me in qualifying and it was quite hard to climb through the grid from 16th place in the races.”

LADA Sport

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About this article
Series WTCC
Event Termas de Rio Hondo
Sub-event Sunday post-race 2
Track Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo
Drivers James Thompson , Rob Huff , Jose Maria Lopez , Mikhail Kozlovskiy
Teams Citroën World Rally Team
Article type Race report
Tags lada sport