LADA LOOKS FORWARD TO PRIORA DEBUT IN PORTO The Lada Sport team embarks on a momentous occasion this weekend, with the debut of the new Priora at round seven of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Porto, Portugal. Another 'first' for...
LADA LOOKS FORWARD TO PRIORA DEBUT IN PORTO
The Lada Sport team embarks on a momentous occasion this weekend, with the debut of the new Priora at round seven of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Porto, Portugal. Another 'first' for Lada is the appearance of two-time British Touring Car Champion James Thompson on his debut with Lada.
Alongside the solo Priora entry are two of the existing Lada 110 cars, driven as usual by Dutchman Jaap Van Lagen (n.18) and Russia's Kirill Ladygin (n.19). Thompson will take new race number 36, while team principal Viktor Shapovalov steps down from his driving role to concentrate on management.
Porto is the third street circuit on the WTCC calendar, alongside Pau and Macau. It is arguably the most challenging of them all, as the opportunities for overtaking are extremely limited and the average speed on the track is in the region of just 130kph. Although there are some fast straights, these are interrupted by some complex chicanes, adding another important tactical element.
The 'Circuit da Boavista' is 4.7 kilometres long, located in just outside downtown Porto at the City Park. The action gets underway with a test session on Friday between 15:00-15:30, during which the new Priora will face its rivals for the very first time. Shortly after the test, James Thompson will meet the media to discuss his first impressions of the car.
The serious competition starts on Saturday, with qualifying between 15:00-15:30 following two free practice sessions in the morning. Race one on Sunday takes place between 11:35-12:05 and race two is from 16:50-17:20. Each race will last for 11 laps.
James Thompson, who will be the centre of attention as he drives the Priora for this first time, commented: "It's a very exciting occasion and I'm really looking forward to driving the Priora in competition for the first time. We've obviously got a lot of development work ahead of us, but I am sure we will be able to learn plenty of important lessons as the weekend goes on. I've got no particular expectations as everything is so new, so we will just take everything as it comes."
Jaap Van Lagen, who has been instrumental in Lada's campaign to date, commented: "This weekend is going to be a big occasion for us. As well as developing the new car, we also need to concentrate on getting the best possible result with the current 110, which will be our main focus in Porto."
Kirill Ladygin, who scored Lada's best-ever result earlier this year, said: "Porto is going to be a big challenge for us. With so few overtaking opportunities, qualifying will be vital. So we need to make the most of the free practice sessions in order to find the most appropriate set-up."
The races will be televised live by Eurosport: Europe's largest television channel.