After the FIA WTCC season’s longest journey from Russia to Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina for the LADA SPORT ROSNEFT team came the season’s shortest qualifying session today (6th August 2016) as all three of the Lada Vesta TC1 cars were eliminated after Q1 for the first time this season.
A combination of circumstances including 50kg of success ballast for the Rosneft backed cars and an uncharacteristically strong performance from the lighter Chevrolet Cruze’s pushed the Lada’s down the ranking and outside of the all-important Top -12.
In the process creating a difficult prospect of race success tomorrow in rounds 15 and 16 of the FIA World Championship.
Best placed of the LADA SPORT ROSNEFT trio was Hugo Valente (P13) who was unlucky to be edged out of Q2 in the final moments of the session. Next up was Nicky Catsburg (P14), who so far has had the best qualifying record in the team but struggled to get the desired pace from his Vesta sighting the need to overdrive the limits of the car to attempt to extract a time.
Gabriele Tarquini was the final of the three (P15) which was to be expected after an engine change was needed after a problem in Free Practice curtailed his running and put the experienced Italian on the back foot with the work to his Vesta being completed just moments before the start of the Qualifying session. The result for Gabriele being somewhat immaterial, as he will take a mandatory penalty for the Opening Race relegating him to the back of the grid in any event. This was additionally frustrating for Gabriele as his early FP1 pace had seen him running as high as p4 before being sidelined by his engine issues.
Despite the results from Qualifying the LADA SPORT ROSNEFT team will race for maximum points in tomorrows (7th August 2016) Opening and Main races starting at 14.10 and 15.20 local time (CET less 5 hours) and can be watched LIVE on Eurosport or streamed via WTCC premium TV.
LADA SPORT ROSNEFT is a racing team, participating in the World Touring Car Championship since 2015 with specially designed LADA Vesta WTCC cars. The General Sponsor of the team is a global energy company Rosneft. Supporting the Russian team in the World Championship, Rosneft together with the leader of the Russian automotive industry LADA joined their efforts to promote Russian brands at the world markets.