LADA was left to pick up only a handful of points in the World Touring Car Championship races in Japan, as both Nicky Catsburg and Hugo Valente were on the receiving end of contact in the races.
The Russian marque endured its second tough weekend in a row, leaving the Twin Ring Motegi with a best finish of seventh, delivered by Catsburg in the Opening Race.
Catsburg in particular was critical of some of the contact he received in the first race, most notably from new provisional champion José María López, who muscled his way past on lap nine.
“[It was] not a very good weekend for me,” said the Dutchman. “I lost some pace at the start in both races, and the driving standards of some drivers today left much to be desired; I got pushed wide in both races.
“However, I had a good fight with James [Thompson] in the Main Race and finally overtook him. I was also struggling with the heat in the car. I think we could have gained more points today. Anyway, we can be happy with the progress we make compared to the previous season.”
Hugo Valente was also on the receiving end of contact from his rivals at the weekend, with Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Grégoire Demoustier hitting the Frenchman in race one, for which he later received a drive-through penalty.
Valente then finished outside the points in the Main Race to make it four races in a row without any points.
“I am disappointed with the Opening Race, as I had to retire after Demoustier pushed me wide,” said Valente.
“I am looking forward to China. I guess we should have a good pace there, because we will have less ballast. It should be interesting for us, there are long straights that could be good for LADA Vesta.
“These two weekends in Argentina and Japan were really hard for me so I hope for better results in China.”
Gabriele Tarquini was the only LADA driver to run free of contact in both races, with the veteran Italian picking up two tenth-place finishes as a result.