Moscow Raceway, August 10-12, 2018 — after a short break of three weeks since stage 4 of the SMP RCRS Championship in Kazan, the Autoproduct MATCH TV GTE RT team arrived at its home Moscow Raceway Circuit near Moscow in the competitive spirit. The team desired to win back after the past technical issues and failures that followed our pilots Philipp Tuponosov and Evgeny Meites at the last two stages in Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan.
Thanks to its favorable location, Moscow Raceway traditionally attracts a lot of spectators from Moscow and the Moscow region, who came last weekend to watch the intense races of the SMP RCRS Championship, held on the track, which in its long history has hosted the most prestigious world circuit racing championships, including the German DTM Series, WTCR (former WTCC), as well as the World Superbike. The circuit near Moscow combines a lot of skill-requiring and tricky corners with constant changes in direction and a noticeable relief in the second sector, which makes the pilots work hard to achieve optimum lap times. Driving mistakes are also not uncommon and are found here more often than on the tracks that hosted the past rounds of the series.
According to qualification, the Autoproduct MATCH TV GTE RT pilots Evgeny Meites and Philipp Tuponosov placed 4th and 8th in their class, but already on Friday night Evgeny Meites was penalized with 5 places back on the starting grid for leaving the pit lane at the red light.
Philipp Tuponosov started well and immediately won back several places, but at the end of the start straight Philipp received a sudden side kick from his rival, which forced him to lose speed and give up the positions he had won back. Despite this incident, Philipp Tuponosov returned to the battle, but already in the second sector of the first lap due to problems with the 6th gear switching his car turned around, and unfortunately, this was the end of the first race for Philipp.
Evgeny Meites started a bit worse than Philipp Tuponosov, but after the incident on the start straight, Evgeny was able to win back several positions and took up pursuit of the leaders. After successful overtaking at the end of the race in the battle for the podium, Evgeny twice seriously blocked the front tyres when entering the last corner and as a result, a rapid stratification of the racing slick began on the front right tyre. In such a situation, our driver had no choice but to slow down the pace as much as possible and just bring the racing Lada Granta to the checkered flag. As a result, Evgeny took 8th place.
Sunday's race was supposed to dot the i's and cross the t's because the Autoproduct MATCH TV GTE RT team did not want to leave the home track without the result they deserved.
The start of Sunday's race for our pilots was calm, this time it was not possible to win back positions at the start. Despite a calm start, Evgeny Meites and Philipp Tuponosov were full of determination to win back the maximum possible number of positions. By the checkered flag, after a beautiful fight and cool-headed overtaking of rivals, Evgeny and Philipp took the 4th and 5th places in their class, respectively.
This result, a step away from the podium, was only a little reward for the excellent performance of both pilots of the Autoproduct MATCH TV GTE RT team, but after the podium ceremony was over, the stewards disqualified two drivers from the Super Production class for underweight. One of them was Ilsur Akhmetvaleev, whose disqualification allowed Evgeny Meites to enter the podium for the first time in the history of the Autoproduct MATCH TV GTE RT team!
Unfortunately, the second disqualified pilot was Philipp Tuponosov, whose underweight was only a few kilograms.
Despite the insulting disqualification of Philipp Tuponosov caused by a mistake of Lada Sport engineers, the Autoproduct MATCH TV GTE RT team left the Moscow Raceway in high spirits, because our drivers showed a rather good result, demonstrating a competitive pace and real will to win.
The next stage of the SMP RCRS Championship will be held from August 31 to September 2 at the legendary Sochi Autodrom, which at the end of September will also host the next Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix, and we are waiting for new bright performances and podiums from our team and pilots.