Mikhail Grachev has praised his ‘perfect’ WestCoast Racing Honda Civic after claiming a third win of the TCR International Series season in Sochi, with the victory being even sweeter for being at his home race.
Grachev started the reversed-grid second race from third on the grid, but the Russian driver got off to a stronger start than both of the front row men to be leading the race by the first corner.
Thereafter Grachev was unchallenged, allowing him to take his third win of the season. Remarkably, when Grachev is not winning he struggles to feature in the top five, and a fourth-placed finish in race one was his first top five result of the year which didn’t result in a win.
The victory does, however, move him into the top ten in the drivers’ championship standings, putting the 28-year-old in ninth overall, with his
“I am really happy of this win, the third of the season and at home,” exclaimed Grachev. “I really want to thank WestCoast Racing because they did a fantastic job.
“I had a problem with my front tyres in race one; their temperature was too high and there was no grip.
“In-between the two races, the guys worked to find a solution, despite the very short turn-around time, and they managed to solve the problem.
“The car was perfect. I could make a very good start, build some gap and stay in front. It wasn’t easy, there was a lot of fighting behind me and when I saw [Jean-Karl] Vernay emerging, I knew I was going to have some pressure on me, but eventually it worked.
“I think starting well in both races was key today. I am really happy about my starts since I [started to] drive the Civic, and now I really want to improve my qualifying, so that I can be in a better position on the grids.”
WestCoast Racing Team Manager James Nixon praised Grachev, who only joined the team for round seven after switching from Engstler Motorsport, for delivering yet another win under pressure.
“Mikhail’s talent and performances have been excellent,” said Nixon. “This is his third win this season, more than any other driver in the series and that speaks for itself.”