LADA could still race in WTCC despite no factory backing.
Just two months ago the factory LADA squad announced that the Russian manufacturer will not return to the FIA World Touring Car Championship in 2017, even though driver contracts were already in place. The decision was devastating for the series and a secondary class had to be introduced in order to keep entries above the minimum 16. Thanks to the team boss Victor Shapovalov, we might see Vestas on the grid after all.
Shapovalov’s Russian Bears Racing team competed in WTCC as a privateer entry in 2008, before becoming a factory LADA squad the following year. This might happen again thanks to the agreement between him and the series promoter Eurosport Events, which is reported to be in place. Although LADA won three races in 2016 and established itself as a very competitive car, it is unlikely they will enjoy the same success this year, as without factory backing the team will probably not feature any front-running drivers.
Lada Sport Rosneft finished third in the 2016 WTCC championship behind the strong Honda and Citroen teams. they secured three wins across the season winning both races in Russia courtesy of Nick Catsburg and Gabriele Tarquini and then in Qatar it was Tarquni who took the top step of the podium in Race Two. Dutchman Catsburg managed to finish seventh in the drivers championship with Tarquini two places behind him.
The full 2017 grid for the 2017 WTCC Championship is yet to be confirmed but the news that Lada could be back on the grid can only be good for fans of WTCC.
Stay tuned for further updates.