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Nika Racing will not compete in Japan

Nika Racing will not participate in this weekend’s World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) meeting at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, citing damage sustained in the last round in Portugal as the reason.

The Swedish team is set to miss its fourth meeting of the season, with driver Rickard Rydell forced to sit out the races in Japan.

The decision to miss the event was made after Néstor Girolami, who replaced Rydell at the previous round in Vila Real, crashed the team’s Honda Civic in qualifying on the street circuit, causing considerable damage to the car.

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Temporary repairs allowed Girolami to start both races, but the team were unable to complete the full repairs during the nine-week summer break.

As a result the team missed the deadline to ship the cars to Japan by sea.

”It’s obviously disappointing having to skip this weekend’s races in Motegi – not least because it’s Honda’s home event – but the crash in Portugal meant we simply have no option,” explained Team Principal Nicklas Karlsson. “We continue to work flat out back at base in Sweden and are already eager to return to the grid in China and to complete the rest of the 2015 FIA WTCC campaign in the best way possible.”

The team missed the second, third and fourth events already this season due to an extended illness for driver Rydell and difficulties in finding a suitable replacement. Girolami was later brought in at the behest of series promoter Eurosport Events, with Nika obliging due to the impact already caused on their season by Rydell’s earlier illness.

Sporting Director Stefan Lindberg explained that despite the problems and delays, the team remain optimistic ahead of their planned return in Shanghai later in the month.

“Unfortunately, the damage sustained in Vila Real qualifying forced us to carry out extensive and time consuming repairs following that event, and that’s the underlying reason for our absence in Japan this weekend,” added Lindberg. “Still, the feeling inside the team is very much one of progress and optimism at the moment.

“We enjoyed our strongest weekend so far in Portugal last time out, scoring our best race and qualifying results and going third-quickest in practice.

“I’ve said it before, but the people working in this operation really are fantastic. I’m sure we can do even better in the races ahead of us, starting in Shanghai.”

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