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Jaap van Lagen replaces James Thompson at LADA

Dutchman Jaap van Lagen will replace James Thompson at LADA Sport in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at the Nürburgring, with the Brit having left the team following the race weekend in Hungary.

Van Lagen is no stranger to the WTCC, having raced in the series in 2008 and 2009. The 38-year-old first entered with a BMW car entered by Russian Bears Motorsport, before being first involved with LADA the following year when Viktor Shapovalov convinced the Russian brand to enter the series.

However the Dutchman left the series when the brand pulled out at the end of 2009, and returns next weekend after five seasons out of touring car racing.

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Thompson withdrew from the races in Hungary citing dental complications at the time. However the Brit has since left the team, and is not expected to return to the brand with which he has had involvement since 2009.

Van Lagen enjoyed his first test with the LADA Vesta TC1 car at the Hungaroring earlier this week, with LADA having hired out the Hungaroring exclusively for testing purposes.

“It was a successful test day,” said van Lagen to Dutch media. “We immediately started to fine-tune the car and Rob and I have been able to further improve the Vesta gradually throughout the day. The car is a thrill to drive. With almost 400 horsepower and only 1100 kilos of weight, there is a lot of potential in the Vesta.

“Viktor Shapovalov and I have always kept in touch over the years. Recently I sent him a message that he could call me if another driver was required for the Nurburgring , and that’s exactly what happened!”

Van Lagen’s previous best result in the WTCC is a tenth place finish, scored in Germany in 2009.

Like team-mate Rob Huff, Van Lagen will also take part in the 24 Hour race around the Nürburgring Nordschleife on the same weekend, taking to the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG for Team Black Falcon.

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