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Aleksei Dudukalo, Lukoil confirmed for Lada

LADA Sport has confirmed that Russian oil company Lukoil will come on board as a sponsor for the team, with former SEAT racer Alexsei Dudukalo becoming the teams’ second driver.

The teams’ second car will be driven by James Thompson and the British driver showed that the car has some potential during the Hungarian and Portuguese events last season, with Thompson taking a best finish of 11th at Portimao.

2013 will see the team expand to a two car outfit under the name of LADA Sport Lukoil; the head of Lukoil Racing, Evgeny Malinovsky is hoping that their experience of the WTCC will help LADA in 2013.

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“We are in the final stages of the negotiations and close to sign the agreement with LADA Sport. We hope that our support and experience in WTCC will help LADA Sport and that we will be one of the best teams,” explains Evgeny Malinovsky, head of Lukoil Racing.

For LADA Sport team Principal Victor Shapovalov, he is pleased to see Lukoil come on board alongside Dudukalo and is hopeful of a strong 2013 campaign.

“We are very pleased and proud with Lukoil’s decision to support our WTCC programme,” explained the former WTCC racer. “The whole team are very motivated and work flat out to develop competitive cars for our drivers. We are very excited looking forward to the start of the season. Testing said that the Granta is a fast car, with a powerful engine. We believe that Aleksei and James will be in the position to fight for top positions in every race.”

For Dudukalo, he heads into his third season in the World Touring Car Championship, having driven a Lukoil Racing Team SEAT Leon alongside 2009 Champion Gabriele Tarquini. His best result was a second place finish in Slovakia, where he was part of a Lukoil Racing Team 1, 2 finish.

“I am glad to continue racing in the WTCC, especially because now I have the opportunity to do it for a factory team and in a Russian car,” added the 36yr old from Moscow. “I hope that James and I will make life difficult for our competitors. I can’t wait to start testing the LADA Granta on the track!”

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