Lada Granta Cup 2012 in Smolensk
The first race began with a spectacular clash in the first turn. Mikhail Loboda’s Granta (Aeroexpress), that started from the third position, flew up into the air after a severe contact with Mikhail Mityayev's car (Sberbank) and landed right on the trunk of Vladimir Sheshenin’s car (Almaks-Major), which started the race from the first starting line.
The cars that suffered in the incident stopped in the hairpin turn, and the race was suspended for 20 minutes to evacuate the Ladas of the Cup leaders – Loboda brothers.
When the race was restarted, it appeared that Sheshenin and Boris Schulmeister’s teams (Aeroexpress) that parked at the pit lane after the first lap cannot continue racing due to the damages after the crash test on the start.
Meanwhile Pavel Kalmanovich (AutoVAZ-PROO), who started from the pole, took the lead with confidence. The Tolyatti driver left the peloton far behind gaining a comfortable handicap for his co-driver Alexandr Kobenko, who replaced him in the driver’s seat of Granta #17 after the mandatory pit stop.
However, Kobenko was unable to maintain the leadership – ten minutes before the finish the red Lada Granta of the factory team stopped on the track due to an electronics failure. Yellow flags, safety car, car evacuation.
After the restart Sergey Shalunov (Arloid Racing), driving right after the safety car, managed to maintain the leading position and was the first to see the chequered flag.
The results of the Lada Granta Cup Saturday racing in Smolensk (27 laps):
- Shalunov/Antonov (Arloid Racing) 52:46.842
- Karasevich/Nagaytsev (NAMI) +25.400
- Chaban/Degtyarev (RT-Trans) +26.484
- Ryabov/Granatovich (Autocom-AFSO) +28.537
- Ladygin/Nikolaev (Autocom-AFSO) +1:13.407
- В.Maleev/М.Maleev (Autocom-AFSO) +1 lap
- Bragin/Simonov (Sberbank-Plastic) +1 lap
- Kobenko/Kalmanovich (AutoVAZ-PROO) +6 laps
The other teams exited the race. The result achieved by Mikhail Mityayev and Vladimir Sitnov was cancelled because they were found guilty for the accident at the first turn.
Before the Sunday race, the sky over the Smolensk Ring clouded over and a heavy rain came down in torrents in the middle of the race. Not all the drivers managed to keep the cars on the flooded track – the poleman Yuriy Loboda, Rustam Akiniyazov and Vyacheslav Maleev hit the fencing.
After the mandatory pit stop Sergey Ryabov (Autocom-AFSO), performing with a debutant – the virtual LADA Granta Cup champion Roman Granatovich, took the lead. However, the experienced Samara driver was unable to keep that position – he was overtaken by Dmitry Bragin (Sberbank-Plastic) and Ladygin (Autocom-AFSO), and then had to make an unscheduled pit stop due to а front left wheel problem, losing all hope to win.
As a result, Bragin was the first to cross the finish line, Anton Ladygin came in second, and, finally, Alexey Chaban (RT-Trans) took the third place.
The results of the Lada Granta Cup Sunday race in Smolensk (23 laps):
- Bragin/Simonov (Sberbank-Plastic) 52:07.119
- Ladygin/Nikolaev (Autocom-AFSO) +10.520
- Chaban/Degtyarev (RT-Trans) +1:21.302
- Akiniyazov/Shulmeister (Aeroexpress) +1:37.071
- Shalunov/Antonov (Arloid Racing) +1 lap
- Ryabov/Granatovich (Autocom-AFSO) +1 lap
- Kobenko/Kalmanovich (AutoVAZ-PROO) +1 lap
- Mityayev/Sitnov (Sberbank) +1 lap
- Karasevich/Nagaytsev (NAMI) +1 lap
Three teams exited the race.
Despite the failure of Loboda brothers at the Smolensk circuit, where they only could gain one point by winning qualification, they managed to maintain their leadership in the Russian Cup (80 points). The Syzran team “Sberbank-Plastic” Maxim Simonov/Dmitry Bragin moved up to the second place with 66 points. The third position in the classification was occupied by Sergey Shalunov and Viktor Antonov from Arloid Racing - 61 points.
The qualifying races of the 5th stage of the Russian Cup within the Lada Granta Record series will be held tomorrow on the Moscow Raceway track near Volokolamsk (Moscow region), opening the second half of the season of the new Russian racing series. Do not miss it.