The RC Motorsport team will field its third ex-factory LADA Vesta WTCC car in the FIA World Touring Car Championship’s visits to China and Japan in October.
The privateer French outfit acquired all three of LADA’s works-developed cars ahead of its debut in the WTCC after the Russian carmaker surprisingly announced its withdrawal from the championship at the end of 2016.
The team registered two full-time entries for the 2017 season. Yann Ehrlacher – the nephew of four-time WTCC title-winner Yvan Muller – joined the team at the start of the season and was followed by American touring car driver Kevin Gleason, who made his debut at the second round at Monza.
The team left open the prospect of fielding its third car on a part-time basis, and has so far only entered Portuguese driver Manuel Fernandes at his home event in Vila Real.
The upcoming rounds in China and Japan will see Macanese driver Filipe de Souza return to the championship following a three-year absence.
De Souza, who was a regular entrant at the WTCC’s Asian rounds between 2011 and 2014, has made a total of 20 race starts. His best finish is a thirteenth place in his final outing on home soil with the independent Team Engstler outfit (pictured below).
Following his last stint in the WTCC, de Souza has been a semi-regular touring car racer in southeast Asia, principally competing in the TCR Asia and TCR International Series championships.
De Souza is yet to drive a current TC1-specification car. His drives in 2014 – the first season of the TC1 regulations – occurred in the TC2 division for Super 2000 conforming cars which were being phased out of the championship.
RC Motorsport is expected to field its third car for the penultimate championship round at de Souza’s home event in Macau.
Images via FIA WTCC Media