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François Ribeiro expecting James Thompson ’to struggle a bit’

Eurosport Events’ Head François Ribeiro is expecting World Touring Car Championship returnee James Thompson ‘to struggle a bit’ in this weekend’s races in Slovakia, where he is standing in for René Münnich.

Thompson split with his former team LADA last season, competing in only the first two rounds before controversially being given the boot at the third round at the Hungaroring.

It later emerged that Ribeiro had been critical of LADA’s decision to continue with Thompson, and that he had spoken with LADA team boss Victor Shapovalov to urge him to bring in talent from elsewhere at the expense of Thompson.

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Now the Brit is returning to the championship for the first time since that weekend, driving a Chevrolet Cruze for Münnich Motorsport whilst the team boss competes in World Rallycfross duties.

“This event is the only one because he is driving the car of René Münnich, who is doing rallycross in Portugal,” explained Ribeiro when asked about Thompson’s return. “It’s good to have James back.

“I know I’ve been a bit hard on him when he left LADA and his factory seat. But James is one of the legends in touring car and I think he will struggle a bit. He has a great experience but he has not driven much over the last twelve months. And I think he doesn’t know much the Chevrolet car because it’s different to the LADA he was driving.

“But if there is one guy with enough experience to make a good show that’s James so I am glad he’s back and I give him a very warm welcome.”

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