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May 07, 2014 - 05:41 PM
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LADA Sport LUKOIL Optimistic For Slovakia
Posted by: newsla on May 07, 2014 - 05:37 PM
Sports Cars
LADA Sport LUKOIL Optimistic For Slovakia After Hungary Test Yields Positive Results


LADA Sport LUKOIL is in high spirits as it moves on to Slovakia for Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) this weekend (10-11 May), having seen signs of progress during two productive days of testing with its trio of LADA Granta Sport TC1s at the Hungaroring, near Budapest.

 

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The Slovakia Ring is located approximately 40km East of the Slovak Republic’s capital city, Bratislava, and hosts the WTCC for the third time since its inauguration as the country’s first permanent race circuit in 2009.

In contrast with Bratislava’s old-town charm, the Hans Roth-designed Slovakia Ring is an ultra-modern, purpose-built facility that boasts an invigorating blend of high and low-speed corners, designed to promote the kind of door handle-to-door handle racing that the WTCC is famed for.

The emergent LADA Sport LUKOIL team has had a character-building start to its 2014 WTCC campaign but could take a number of positives away from a trying weekend in Hungary, having taken the fight to many of its TC1 rivals and overcome the reliability and early teething issues that hampered the opening two rounds of the season in Morocco and France.

Persistence and determination from the Russian outfit has produced results and there has been no let-up in its pursuit of speed and performance, staying on at the Hungaroring for two days of intense testing and development work before making the trip to the Slovakia Ring.

Rob Huff has previous form around the 5.92km Eastern European circuit, achieving a race win there in 2012. A solid fifth-place result at Circuit Paul Ricard in April has been the highlight of a challenging start to the year and the 2012 World Champion subsequently has relatively modest ambitions for the WTCC’s two 11-lap races on Slovak soil.

Rob Huff: “Testing was very useful; I feel we made some good improvements with the car. We also found some more things to work on, but this is what testing is for. We have to be very pleased with the results. We improved our lap time by over a second compared to our performances last weekend in Hungary and I’m excited to try the new developments in Slovakia.

“Regarding the Slovakia Ring, I should say it’s a fantastic circuit. In fact, it’s probably the hardest track for the balance and setup of the car. It has almost every type of corner – fast, slow, tight and long corners – and it’s really tough for front-wheel-drive cars. We have to find the best possible balance. It’s a great facility, the fans are passionate and produce a really good atmosphere!”

James Thompson is also filled with positivity following an encouraging two-day test in Budapest and, while his young Russian teammate Mikhail Kozlovskiy was less fortunate, both are hopeful that LADA Sport LUKOIL will move forward in Slovakia.

James Thompson: “It’s really nice to have had an opportunity to clock up some mileage at the Hungaroring and knowing that we will be testing again later next week in Slovakia. We are trying new solutions and I hope they will help in the next two races at the Slovakia Ring, as it’s such a challenging track with a very interesting mix of slow, medium and fast corners. We really struggled there last year, as it was the team's first visit to the circuit and we didn’t have the opportunity to test prior to the event. It should be better for us this time and I’m aiming to make it into the top ten.”

Mikhail Kozlovskiy: “Unfortunately, I didn’t complete many laps during testing because my car wasn’t’ ready yet. We have changed the engine for my car and hopefully I will be more successful in Slovakia than in Hungary, where I was not able to finish the races due to the engine problems. Anyway, the test session was useful, as we discussed a lot of things with the engineers, and I am sure all of the new ideas will have a positive effect on the Granta’s pace”.

Coverage of Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship will be beamed live across the globe on Eurosport at 13.00/14.00 and 17.30/18.00 CET (BST +1 hour).


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