LADA’s Rob Huff believes that this weekend’s World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) races in Beijing will play to the advantages of his car, with the twisty layout removing the dependence on aerodynamics which have held the team back so far this year.
Fresh from having scored the manufacturer’s first-ever podium in the WTCC last time out in Argentina, Huff heads to China this weekend heading into the unknown. However the Brit has predicted that the lack of long straights or high-speed corners at the 3.86 km circuit will play to his and the team’s advantage.
“Beijing is going to be a new and interesting experience for the WTCC, as the championship ventures out onto unchartered territory at Goldenport Park Circuit in a new region of China,” said Huff. “At only 2.4 miles in length, this is the shortest track we visit and that should remove a lot of the emphasis on aerodynamics, which could play to LADA Sport’s advantage.
“I’m expecting it to be more about mechanical grip and there’s no doubt we have taken significant steps forward in recent months, so it will be exciting to see how we fare.”
Huff’s first podium with LADA two months ago in Argentina came off the back of a summer upgrade package which the team had been working on. Huff admits the first goal is to break into the top ten in qualifying – something which he himself only achieved for the first time in Argentina.
“Taking everything into consideration, there are so many unknowns and I have no idea if we will be able to emulate the sort of success we had in Argentina,” added Huff. “The goal for all three of LADA Sport’s drivers is to breach the top ten in qualifying and benefit from the reversed grid pole position in race two, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one of us makes it. The car felt better than ever in Argentina and hasn’t changed since then, so we hope to improve again.”
James Thompson, who has had a tumultuous season with his chassis due to difficult to identify problems, also believes the Chinese circuit will suit the Granta, but adds that it will be difficult to predict the formbook this weekend.
”The interesting layout and the length of Goldenport Park Circuit could be suitable for our Lada Granta cars, as the top speed is not crucial at this type of the track. The circuit is new to the participants of WTCC and it will add intrigue to the race.
“It’s hard to predict the results, but hopefully we can fight for some high positions as the car at the previous Argentinean round felt good in terms of balance and stability.”
Russian Mikhail Kozlovskiy says that he is refreshed after the two month break since the previous round – the longest break in the WTCC calendar.
“I am eager to return to the racetrack after two months away, fully refreshed and ready for new challenges,” said Kozlovskiy. “I’ve never been to Beijing and the Goldenport Park Circuit, so it’s another interesting experience for me. The track is very short; hopefully, this will advantage us.
“We also expect large crowds of fans at the circuit, because motorsport is very popular in China, and we will do our best to make a really thrilling battle for the enjoyment of the spectators.”