In the 10th round of the 2017 FIA WTCC Championship in Shanghai China today (24th September) LADA SPORT ROSNEFT delivered their best qualifying result since the front row lockout in Moscow with Nicky Catsburg just pipped to pole position in the dying moments of a tense Q3 by the Citroen of triple World Champion Jose Maria Lopez.
Running first in the Q3 TOP5 shootout, the Dutchman’s pace was nothing short of breathtaking as he pushed his Rosneft backed Lada Vesta to the limits in a near perfect lap to record a time of 1.49.500, the best time of the weekend and a very high benchmark for the others to chase.
In the end, Lopez had to work extremely hard trading fastest sector times until he edged the LADA SPORT ROSNEFT driver into P2 by just one tenth of a second.
It was a day of close calls as team mate Gabriele Tarquini just missed out on a Q3 appearance, his loss being Catsburgs gain as he came in P6 for two strong starting positions for tomorrows (25th September) races of the World Championship, whilst the luckless Hugo Valente finished in the dreaded P13 of Q.
Catsburg: For the first time in my WTCC career I am disappointed to be in P2, I thought when I did the time it was good enough for pole position but I guess if I am going to be beaten by someone with a lap like I did it would be him (Lopez) I am worried a little bit about the races tomorrow but hopefully I will get two good starts and it will be ok
Tarquini We were very good today, car is quick and we made the others have to work hard. I have two good starting positions so we can have a good chance in the races. I am pleased for Nicky even though he knocked me out of Q3! »
Team Principal Victor Shapovalov was also happy with the result for his team; This is a good track for us so I expected a strong performance from the team, last year in qualifying we were P3 with Nicky so P2 is a step forward, Nicky did a nice lap.
Tomorrows races take place at the Shanghai International Circuit, China in the FIA WTCC’s 10th round of the 2017 World Championship at 14.35 and 15.50 respectively and can be watched live on Eurosport or via the WTCC Premium TV Channel at www.fiawtcc.com.
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.