Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL has arrived in Sochi, Russia, for the seventh round of the TCR International Series. This round holds special significance for the team as it is the home of their title sponsor LUKOIL and driver Sergey Afanaysev. The team is hoping to put on a show and deliver some strong results for the Russian touring car fans that will fill the Sochi Autodrom this weekend. The trio of drivers will once again be focused on closing the gap in the drivers’ and teams’ championship, with, Pepe Oriola, only four points behind second place, while teammate, Jordi Gené is close behind in fourth. Russian home hero, Afanaysev, is currently eighth in the championship but is determined to make his mark on his inaugural home race by mounting a podium assault for the Russian weekend.
After a hard fought race weekend in Austria that saw the end of an incredible four races over five weeks, the team has been given some time to regroup before heading to Russia to continue their championship challenge. Oriola scored 28 points in Austria and has consequently received 10kg of Success Ballast for scoring the third most points of any driver that round. The Spaniard will be pushing hard to combat the weight penalty as best he can with the sole intention for the weekend to move up into second place in the championship.
While Gené was limited by 20kg of success ballast in Austria, the touring car veteran is free from any excess weight this round and will be using the increased performance to his advantage to compete for a top result. Gené has had to contend with ballast for the past two rounds but has managed to push the SEAT Leon beyond its limits and achieve some top results. This weekend, he will be making sure to capitalize on the lack of weight and utilize the added performance that it brings.
Afanaysev claimed P4 in race two of Austria with a gifted display of driving. He hopes to capture that same magic and combine it with his home crowd advantage to produce some more podium results. With the support from the Russian fans, the trio of Craft-Bamboo Lukoil drivers will proudly take to the circuit this weekend, hoping to produce a triumphant display of racing that will close the four point gap for second place in the teams’ championship.
Free test sessions will be held on Friday, June 19th, with practice and qualifying scheduled for Saturday, 20th of June 15:10 – 15:45 (Q1+Q2). Race one will begin on Sunday, 21st of June from 12:35-13:05 (Local Time), while race two will be held in the afternoon, 14:05-14:35. Both races will follow the format of 11 Laps, with live streaming from the Sochi Autodrom, Russia, available on the series’ official website www.tcr-series.com.
The pursuit of the inaugural TCR international title would not be possible without the support of LUKOIL, Gravity, Team Dynamics and Orangebus.
Pepe Oriola, Driver #74
“Being so close in the championship is great after somewhat tough races in Italy and Austria, and if we do well this weekend, I’m hoping to move up into second place overall and close the points gap to the leader. We are just over halfway in the championship and I need to focus on picking up consistent results every race from now until the end of the season.”
Sergey Afanaysev, Driver #77
“It feels great to be home in Russia after such a busy season and to be given the chance to race here with LUKOIL is an amazing feeling. I really want to put on a great show for the fans and will be pushing this weekend to get the best results. I have yet to drive the circuit so it is going to be a challenge but I can’t wait to get out there and start racing.”
Jordi Gené, Driver #88
“The Sochi Autodrom looks like a fantastic circuit to race on and features a spectacular long arching corner, its layout should also suit the SEAT Leon and now that I do not have to contend with any ballast, I will be fighting hard for the win.”
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing
“Arriving in Russia has been a fantastic experience; it is the home of our driver Sergey Afanaysev and also our title sponsor Lukoil. The Sochi Autodrom provides a more conventional circuit layout than the two previous rounds, so I expect that we will be challenging for some top results this weekend. We are further supported this weekend by the RTCC LUKOIL team who will run Alexsei Dudukalo in a 4th Red and white SEAT TCR international entry.”