LADA PREPARES FOR PUEBLA CHALLENGE Just two weeks after the opening round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, the LADA Sport team, consisting of drivers Jaap van Lagen (n.18), Kirill Ladygin (n.19) and Viktor Shapovalov (n.20), is...
LADA PREPARES FOR PUEBLA CHALLENGE
Just two weeks after the opening round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, the LADA Sport team, consisting of drivers Jaap van Lagen (n.18), Kirill Ladygin (n.19) and Viktor Shapovalov (n.20), is back in action again.
With the championship having got off to a successful start in Brazil a fortnight ago, where LADA claimed third place in the manufacturers' championship on its debut as a registered constructor, the next races now take place in Mexico.
The 3.2-kilometre Puebla circuit is hosting the WTCC for the fourth time, although for LADA it will be a new experience. The team's equipment was air freighted up from Brazil following the opening round, but the drivers returned home to rest and prepare for their latest challenge.
The WTCC at Puebla takes place on a road course within an oval circuit. Consequently it contains a wide variety of speeds and corners, requiring a flexible set-up that works well in differing conditions. However, with the rules limiting the amount of technology allowed on the cars, the emphasis is firmly on driving skills.
The action will get underway with some testing on Friday 20 March, before the free practice sessions on Saturday morning. Qualifying takes place on Saturday afternoon for race one, with the grid for race two being determined by the result of the opening race. The top eight finishers however are reversed on the grid, in order to guarantee a close spectacle and dramatic racing throughout the weekend.
Race one in Puebla takes place at 12:20 (local time) on Sunday 22 March, while race two begins at 15:50. All the races are broadcast live on Eurosport: Europe's largest television channel.
Dutch driver Jaap van Lagen, who led the LADA challenge in Brazil, said: "I'm really looking forward to the Mexican races. Although we clearly still have some way to go, the opening round showed that we definitely have potential. It's our job now to build on that, and I hope that we can use the Puebla races to learn even more about the car and how to get the best out of it."
Kirill Ladygin, a winner of the LADA Cup back home in his native Russia, commented: "With the cars coming straight to Mexico from Brazil, the basic performance is likely to be the same, so we have to be realistic about our expectations. I think though that we have all benefited from being in the race environment just two weeks ago, and I am sure that experience will be very useful to us in Mexico. We're improving all the time."
Viktor Shapovalov, also from Russia, runs the team as well as driving the third Lada 110 2.0. He concluded: "Curitiba was a great weekend for me, as I ended up with my best-ever race result in the WTCC. I'm proud of everything the team has achieved so far. But now of course we have to keep working very hard and we start again from zero in Mexico, as we have to tune into a new track. If we can repeat the same sort of performance as we showed in Curitiba, then I will be very happy."