LADA Sport have been continuing their winter testing at the Magny-Cours circuit in Nevers, France as the manufacturer prepares for its return to the World Touring Car Championship in 2013.
James Thompson and Aleksei Dudukalo have been at the wheel of the Russian team’s LADA Granta this week, although snow conditions at the beginning of the week limited the duo’s track time. The team have been focussing on race set-up and checking the car’s technical systems.
Thompson, a four-time WTCC race winner, is feeling confident ahead of the season opener at Monza in just three weeks.
“We tried some fundamental things that were a step in the right direction,” explained Thompson. “One of the Granta’s strong points is the small size that results in a good drag. Potentially, if we are able maximize this, we can achieve excellent top speed. The car is also very nimble in the changes of directions and slow corners. So far the overall impression is positive, but we have some more interesting technical solutions to try.”
Russian Dudukalo is entering his third season in the WTCC, and this week’s test session was not only his first visit to the French circuit, which has not been on the WTCC Calendar since 2006, but also his first time at the wheel of the car, having previously raced SEAT León’s in the WTCC.
“It was my first time in the car and also my first visit to Magny-Cours,” said Dudukalo. “I really liked the Granta. Is a pretty fast car and reactive to the adjustments. I managed to adjust it to my driving style, and felt the changes. So it makes me confident. That was also my first time with my new racing engineer Arnaud Elizagaray and I enjoyed working with him and the team.”
LADA previously competed in the WTCC as a works team in 2009.