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LADA pleased despite Slovakian results

The LADA Sport Lukoil team picked up more useful points in their pursuit of the 2013 Manufacturers title despite a tough weekend at the Slovakia Ring, Slovakia.

With neither driver having raced at the circuit before and the team having no previous experience of the Slovakia Ring, the third weekend of the 2013 World Touring Car Championship became a weekend into the unknown for the team.

“With each round we’re gaining in experience and learning more about the car: specifically how it performs on different tracks and with different set-ups,” commented Victor Shapovalov, LADA Sport Lukoil Team Principal.

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“The Slovakia Ring gave us a lot of valuable information about our car and its relative strengths and weaknesses. It’s also important to remember that this was a completely new circuit for both our drivers as well as our car. I believe that for the next round at the Hungaroring, we should be more competitive.”

After a difficult qualifying session which saw Briton James Thompson qualify 15th and team-mate Mikhail Kozlovskiy 21st before moving up the order after two drivers recieved penalties, Thompson subsequently showed the pace of the LADA Granta with 4th in the morning warm up.

The races however were a different story as Thompson struggled to move up the order in either race, with a best result of 13th coming in the opening race of the weekend.

“It was a bit of a tough weekend for us,” explains Thompson. “In two sectors out of three our time was very close to that of the leaders but we were losing time in the longest sector that contained a technical combination of corners. Thankfully we were able to find some solutions and these helped, as we could see in the warm-up where I was fourth. If we had performed better in qualifying, I’m sure we would have been a lot faster in the race.

“The simple fact is that when you start from the middle, it’s very hard to overtake. But basically the car was fast today. In the first sector we had a very good pace and I could really take the fight to our rivals. Hopefully we’ll be back in the top 10 at the next round in Hungary,” concludes the British driver.

Kozlovskiy continued his WTCC education and finished the weekend with a brace of 20th place finishes after the young Russian driver encountered a mixture of issues and slight mistakes his hampered his progress.

“This really isn’t an easy track,” he explains. “In Race One I managed to climb up the order but then I braked a bit too late and went off. This meant that I had to return to the pits to change tyres, which cost me time and position. I had a good first lap in Race Two and managed to get past a few people.

“Unfortunately I made one mistake under braking and got onto the dirty part of the track: a few of my rivals used this against me to their advantage. In summary, I learned a lot but I also made life quite difficult for myself. I’m going to try and improve over the next few races,” he concluded.

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