LADA Sport and Lukoil have confirmed they are finalizing a deal to join forces in an all-Russian partnership for competing in the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Evgeny Malinovskiy, head of Lukoil Racing said: We are in the final stages of the negotiations and close to sign the agreement with LADA Sport. We hope that our support and experience in WTCC will help LADA Sport and that we will be one of the best teams.
After an encouraging participation with one LADA Granta car driven by James Thompson in two WTCC events Hungary and Portugal during the 2012 season, next year the Avtovaz Group will be represented by two cars, run under the banner of LADA Sport Lukoil, with Russian driver Aleksei Dudukalo joining Thompson in the teams line up.
LADA Sport principal Victor Shapovalov commented: We are very pleased and proud with Lukoils decision to support our WTCC programme. The whole team are very motivated and work flat out to develop competitive cars for our drivers. We are very excited looking forward to the start of the season. Testing said that the Granta is a fast car, with a powerful engine. We believe that Aleksei and James will be in the position to fight for top positions in every race.
DUDUKALO: I CANT WAIT TO START TESTING
Aleksei Dudukalo will join James Thompson at LADA Sport Lukoil to drive one of the teams LADA Granta cars in the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The 36-year old driver from Moscow will face his third season in WTCC after two years at the wheel of Lukoil Racing Teams SEAT León cars. His best result was a second place behind his team-mate Gabriele Tarquini at the Slovakia Ring last year.
Dudukalo is not new to LADA Sport, having clinched the 2012 Russian Ice Racing title in a Lukoil-backed LADA Kalina.
I am glad to continue racing in the WTCC, especially because now I have the opportunity to do it for a factory team and in a Russian car. I hope that James and I will make life difficult for our competitors. I can’t wait to start testing the LADA Granta on the track! Dudukalo said.
LADA Sport principal Victor Shapovalov commented: We are pleased to welcome Aleksei, and we are confident he has the potential to achieve very good results in his third season in the World Championship.