LADA Sport to make FIA WTCR début in Sochi season finale

LADA Sport Rosneft is planning to make its début in the FIA World Touring Car Cup when the series concludes at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia in late November.

LADA has not competed at World Touring Car level since the 2016 season, although its cars continued to feature independently in the 2017 WTCC under the RC Motorsport banner, with Yann Ehrlacher having taken its most recent World Touring Car win at Argentina that year.

Since then, LADA’s touring car campaigns have focussed on its domestic market, with the LADA Vesta TCR first appearing in 2017. In 2019 the upgraded LADA Vesta Sport TCR made its appearance.

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Over the past five years, LADA has picked up 23 wins in TCR Russia, including winning the 2020 title outright with Kirill Ladygin at the wheel.

The drivers who will take part in WTCR will be Ladygin and Mikhail Mityaev, who has raced with the team since the end of the 2019 campaign.

“We are pleased with the opportunity to participate in the Russian stage of the World Cup,” said Head of LADA Sport Vladislav Nezvankin. “Obviously, this is great news for both us and our fans!

“The audience will have the opportunity to cheer for Russian pilots who will be driving Russian cars and will fight the best racers of World Touring Cars.

“For our own team, participating in the WTCR finale is an excellent practice at the international level.

“Starting here will allow our touring class pilots and the whole team to gain new valuable experience and to become even stronger.”

Ladygin, 42, last raced in World Touring Cars in 2009, when he took part in a full season with the LADA Sport team in a LADA 100 and LADA Priora, when the championship ran with S2000 regulations.

The Russian has a chance of securing the 2021 TCR Russia title this weekend, also at Sochi, where he is leading the championship ahead of Dmitry Bragin by 31 points.

“The last time I participated in World Touring Cars was 12 years ago,” said Ladygin. “So, of course, I’m excited to get back.

“There are many unknowns waiting for us. First of all, we have to get comfortable pretty quickly with the Goodyear tyres that we’ve never worked with.

“Secondly, our cars at the start of the race will be much heavier than competitors’ cars, which will greatly affect the speed given the features of Sochi Autodrom.

“On our side, knowledge of the track – unlike the pilots of WTCR, we will have the opportunity to participate in races here a month before the WTCR finale in the framework of the TCR Russia finale.

“We will do our best to please the fans and enjoy this weekend.”

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