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Sergey Shalunov: "This year the “National” has a strong driver line-up"

Sergey Shalunov about the difficulties of performing in two racing series simultaneously, his job as Chuvashia Automobile Federation Chairman and his impressions of the Moscow WTCC stage 2013.

The fourth stage of the Russian Racing Championship 2013 starts today at the Kazanring auto racing circuit in Vysokogorsky Region of Tatarstan with the qualifying races in the following classes: Touring, Super-production, Touring-light and National.

One of the major players in the National Class of the Cup event is the Syzran Racing Team driver Sergey Shalunov, a 2013 prizewinner of the two main Russian touring racing series – RRC and Lada Granta Cup. In the interview with “CarClub.Ru” Sergey told us about the difficulties of performing in two racing series simultaneously, his job as Chuvashia Automobile Federation Chairman and his impressions of the Moscow WTCC stage 2013.

CarClub.Ru: Sergey, this year you are participating in two championships - Russian Racing Championship and Lada Granta Cup. Isn’t it difficult to combine races of different classes, especially with the series’ weekends coinciding?

Sergey Shalunov: It is not very difficult because the races are separated. Usually the two RRC races take place on Sunday and the Lada Granta Cup races are on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, it means three races on Sunday, but it is bearable. My co-driver Maxim Simonov drove four races in the second RRC stage – two in the Touring class and two in the National. And it is rather difficult.

CarClub.Ru: You perform driving two Russian cars - Lada Granta in the Lada Granta Cup and Lada Kalina in the National class. Are there any differences, special driving techniques for these cars?

Sergey Shalunov: The differences are striking – one of the cars (Lada Kalina) is practically for civil use, in a manner of speaking, while the other one (Lada Granta) is, of course, a battle car.

CarClub.Ru: What is your opinion of your rivals in the National class? I mean, many cars take the start and racers of different experience levels must participate. Who could provide an interesting competition for you? Are there those from whom you could learn something?

Sergey Shalunov: This year we have a strong driver line-up both in the National and Touring-Light events. There are many young drivers who master their skills with each successive racing. For example, Egor Sanin, just a boy participating in the circuit racings for the first time this year, and he is already regularly listed in the first lines of the ratings. Of course, we also have a mentor working with us - Dmitry Bragin. Actually, he is performing for another team in the National, but we are trying to keep up with him nonetheless. My co-driver in the Lada Granta Cup Mikhail Mityayev comes to the races, gives advice. Certainly, this is the mass class with thirty cars taking the start.

CarClub.Ru: You are not only a racer, you are also the Chuvashia Autosports Federation Chairman. Can you tell us about the ongoing motorsport events in the Republic, what happened during winter? Are there any traditional competitions?

Sergey Shalunov: Yes, we have a range of established competitions that have become almost traditional. At the moment there are thirteen such events, six of which are the Republic Children and Juniors’ Carting Competitions. We also conduct the Head of the Republic of Chuvashia Autocross Cup with many racers from different regions of Russia participating. The traditional “Volga Track” racing takes place in winter. It is held on the artificial bay ice, practically in the city center. We plan to make this event a part of the Russian Track Racing. Besides, there is a classic Cheboksary Fall Rally in autumn, where racers from all over the country are taking part. More detailed information about the motorsport events in the Republic can be found on the Federation website.

CarClub.Ru: One of the stages of the Russian Racing Championship 2013 was held as a race to support the Russian WTCC stage. We know that you went to see both races at the Moscow Raceway, did you root for someone in particular?

Sergey Shalunov: Of course. Viktor Shapovalov, the Lukoil LADA Racing Team leader, used to be my co-driver in Lada Granta Cup, and I rooted for the Russian team and its drivers.

CarClub.Ru: Do you, as a sportsman and the organizer of a team, believe that there are things one could learn from the world touring giants both in terms of organization and sports?

Sergey Shalunov: First of all – it is the filigree work of the drivers and the team as a whole that one can learn. The team and driver’s actions are precise: the team’s – in the settings, the racer’s – in driving. Maybe such races are not always very spectacular and one has to watch the cars moving one after another in a chain on the track, but when they move at the speed of 200 km/h at the distance around twenty centimeters – for me it seems very exciting.

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