LADA SET FOR SPANISH FIESTA The next round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, in which LADA Sport is participating as a registered manufacturer for the first time, takes place at the Spanish circuit of Valencia this weekend....
LADA SET FOR SPANISH FIESTA
The next round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, in which LADA Sport is participating as a registered manufacturer for the first time, takes place at the Spanish circuit of Valencia this weekend. The permanent Valencia track (which is not to be confused with the new Formula 1 street circuit in the city) has been a long-time fixture on the FIA WTCC calendar, with the series coming to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo for the sixth time this season.
For the three LADA Sport drivers, Jaap Van Lagen (n.18), Kirill Ladygin (n.19) and Viktor Shapovalov (n.20), Valencia represents a return to normality after two extremely specialised street circuits in Marrakech and Pau.
Valencia is a technical track that has a bit of everything, making it a favourite Formula 1 test venue. There is a long straight, followed by a complex infield section featuring a wide variety of corners, making up a total circuit length of 4.05 kilometres.
The current LADA 110 2.0 touring car has been updated for the Spanish round to include a new engine, which delivers some more horsepower. The team is also hoping that it can take advantage of the WTCC's success ballast system to maximise every opportunity over the Spanish weekend. The emphasis this year for LADA is firmly on learning, particularly with an all-new car scheduled for July's Porto round in Portugal
After two half-hour free practice sessions at Valencia in the morning on Saturday 30 May, the crews embark on qualifying for race one in the afternoon. The grid for race two will be determined as always by the result of the opening race with the top eight finishers reversed.
Race one in Valencia takes place at 12:50 on Sunday 31 May and is expected to last half an hour. The drivers and teams then have a short break before race two begins at 15:05. As usual all the races will be broadcast live on Eurosport: Europe's largest television channel.
Dutch driver Jaap Van Lagen, who suffered mixed fortunes at the last round in Pau, commented: "I'm very much looking forward to these races and hopefully we can put some of the bad luck that we have endured in the past behind us now. I'll be very interested to see how much of an effect the new engine has here, but the main thing is that we are obviously making progress."
Russia's Kirill Ladygin added: "When things go well, it's clear that we have a lot of potential. So our task this weekend will be to concentrate on keeping out of trouble, in order to give ourselves the best possible chance against the more experienced opposition in Spain."
His compatriot and team principal Viktor Shapovalov, who drives the third factory LADA 110, concluded: "We had a very busy couple of weeks after Pau, as there was a lot of work to do in order to re-prepare the cars for Spain and test the new engine. Now though everything is ready and we can concentrate on doing a good job on what is generally a more conventional circuit than the last two tracks we have visited. The most important thing will be to have a clean weekend in order to put us in a strong position to capitalise on any chances that come our way. We will be trying hard as always, but there is no point in taking big risks."