The Lada Sport Rosneft team will field just two cars for this weekend’s round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The Russian outfit suffered major damage to another of its all-new Vesta WTCC racers, after Rob Huff suffered a high-speed suspension failure in last week’s private test at the Hungaroring. The Englishman’s car hit the barriers at the end of the start/finish straight at some 180km/h – which also led to a brief hospital stint for the former champion – triggering the need for another chassis rebuild.
The team has been left with a significant amount of work to do to prepare that car – previously designated as the team’s test car – which Huff had to race at Hungary when his original machine was damaged two weeks’ prior at Marrakech after being rear-ended by teammate Mikhail Kozlovskiy, who suffered a brake failure on approach to the final hairpin.
With two cars effective out of action, the team only has two working machines available to race at this weekend’s highly anticipated races at the Nordschleife. Those cars will be driven by the recovered Huff and stand-in driver Jaap van Lagen, whose appointment was confirmed last week.
The announcement means that the team’s third regular driver, Mikhail Kozlovskiy, will not be taking part. The Russian youngster has already missed the season-opening round of the championship in Argentina when the team was unable to have his car ready in time to make the air freight shipment.
Van Lagen will replace James Thompson, who was sidelined from competing at the Hungarian rounds after suffering complications from major dental surgery.
Thompson and Kozlovskiy are expected to be back in action at the following round of the championship, the team’s home race at Moscow Raceway.
There has, however, been recent speculation surrounding Thompson’s exact future with the team, with some sources suggesting that the Englishman had actually parted ways with the outfit. Lada’s official position is that the former British Touring Car Champion remains part of its line-up.
Image via XPB Images