LADA SPORT ROSNEFT left the FIA WTCC Race of China in Shanghai today (25th September 2016) with a decent points haul after two competitive races once again pushing for the podium positions.
In the day’s Opening Race, Gabriele Tarquini got away well to run P3 in his Rosneft backed Lada Vesta whilst Catsburg and Valente were battling forward in the pack behind, improving well from there respective grid positions.
Whilst Tarquini was closing in to pass Chilton in the Citroen for P2 Catsburg had moved up to P6 and Valente doing a sensational recovery job had propelled his Vesta through the pack to run in P8. Eventually on lap 8 of the 15 lap race Tarquini fell foul of Chilton when trying to pass and was forced to retire with damage, his loss again being Catsburg’s gain as the Dutchman inherited two positions to run P4. Valente also benefiting to move into P6.
It remained this way until the final lap when Catsburg picked up debris from a collision between Bjork’s Volvo and Michelisz’s Honda allowing Lopez to push past on the final corner to snatch a place from the Dutchman.
The team eagerly anticipated the Main race as Catsburg would take up his front row position earned from his impressive qualifying performance. The start was not as was hoped for however as Catsburg slipped back into the clutches of the Citroens to run P4 on the conclusion of the first lap. Tarquini behind in P5 and Valente getting away less impressively in his second start to be battling down the field.
Nick Catsburg I had a great qualifying but once again I fell victim to my race starts both in race 1 and the main race. Starting P2 I had the pace to win or at least be P2 but losing positions again off the line cost me. In the end P5 and P4 are good for points but I think it could have been so much better
Gabriele Tarquini It was disappointing not to finish the Opening Race after contact with Tom, if I had got past him I could have won I am sure, but making the pass we had some contact broke my wheel and that was it. In the Main race I couldn’t really push and held the Volvo’s behind me for a decent P5 behind Nicky
Hugo Valente I was very disappointed after the qualifying, it is really effecting my race results and I need to get on the pace quicker. We made some suspension changes after qualifying and I think it made the car much better. In the first race it was really satisfying to race to 6th from P13 on the grid. I did some nice clean overtakes. Race 2 was a little disappointing as I got bogged down in a battle with Norbert (Michelisz) and Rob (Huff) in the Hondas but didn’t have the car to compete to pass them
With the penultimate round in Thailand seemingly in the balance the team now wait to reconvene in Qatar for what could prove to be the finale of LADA’s strongest WTCC season to date.