Thompson and Kozlovkiy ready to take on Suzuka

LADA Sport LUKOIL drivers celebrate 200 WTCC races

They say that time flies by when you’re having fun. And from 21-22 September, the LADA Sport LUKOIL racing team will take part in round 10 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, which will take place at the legendary Suzuka circuit in Japan: home of the Japanese Grand Prix. But this is no ordinary round of the championship, as it marks the 200th Anniversary race of WTCC. This weekend will be a special race as it also hosts a record number of cars on the grid. In total, 30 competitors will fight for points in the land of the rising sun.

James Thompson, LADA Granta, LADA Sport Lukoil
James Thompson, LADA Granta, LADA Sport Lukoil

Photo by: JMHPics

Japan has already played host to a number of WTCC races, with the LADA Sport team taking part in the Okayama race back in 2009 with three LADA Priora cars. This year, it’s the turn of the new LADA Granta to take to the track at Suzuka’s hallowed ground. Only a part of the full Grand Prix track will be used for the WTCC race, and the 2.2-kilometre layout makes this the shortest track on the 2013 WTCC calendar. Each race will last 26 laps.

LADA factory driver James Thompson said: “It’s always nice to be driving at Formula One circuits that are well-known for their Grands Prix. I love Japan and it’s a huge pleasure to be here. This is a beautiful circuit with plenty of elevation, and like every Formula One track, standards are high. I think this should suit our car better than Sonoma. We’ve just walked around the circuit and you can tell that it’s very smooth with a high grip level. It’s going be exciting and I’m really looking forward to drive the first few laps here on Friday. Some corners might be difficult because you have to maintain quite high speeds. You have a very long fast straight here, followed by a fast first corner, then slightly tight second corner, which will all be pretty challenging. Qualifying is the key here: you must qualify in the top ten. “

His team mate Mikhail Kozlovkiy added: “This is a rather specific circuit because we use only the first sector of the main Formula One racetrack. I think it must be amazing to race on the full F1 track, because it’s just so famous. I think we’ll see lap times that are very close to each other as the lap is very short and there are many mid-speed corners. In qualifying, even a thousandth of a second can make a difference. You need drive perfectly and come close to delivering a perfectly accurate ideal lap. Of course that is important at any racetrack, but here in Suzuka it seems to be particularly crucial. The long straight takes up more than a third of the track, and top speeds will be high. We feel optimistic, even though the circuit is brand new for us. The first testing sessions on Friday will show where we are in comparison with the other competitors and allow us to assess the performance of Granta at this venue”.

Eurosport will broadcast all the action live online. Qualifying will be shown on Saturday September 21 from 15:30 (local time). Race 1 will be shown live on Sunday, September 22 at 14.15 (local time) followed by Race 2 at 15.15 (local time).

LADA Sport Lukoil Media

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers James Thompson
Article type Preview
Tags kozlovkiy, lada sport, suzuka, thompson, wtcc