Barely one weekend into his World Touring Car Championship career with LADA, Aleksei Dudukalo has been sacked by the Russian carmaker after an embarrassing faux pas at last weekend’s season-opening Race of Italy at Monza.
The 36-year-old Russian was deemed responsible for both LADA Granta entries being embarrassingly forced with withdraw from Sunday’s two races after colliding heavily with teammate James Thompson during Saturday’s qualifying session.
Dudukalo had been attempting to navigate his way past Norbert Mischelisz’s Honda on the approach to Turn 1, only to complete miss his braking point and slam into the side of Thompson, who was turning for the apex of the corner.
The accident destroyed Dudukalo’s LADA, while Thompson – despite the right-hand side of his car being gouged open like a tin of sardines in the impact – was incredibly able to participate in the second qualifying session, posting the ninth-fastest time overall.
That would have given the Englishman a front-row start for Sunday’s second race, but the damage to his car proved too great and the team with forced to pack up early.
As we reported earlier this week, the team’s official sponsor LUKOIL was so furious with the incident that the demanded Dudukalo’s head, and now Team Principal Viktor Shapovalov has confirmed that his compatriot, 23-year-old Mikhail Koslovskiy, will take over the #8 car at next weekend’s Race of Morocco at Marrakech.