Sochi Autodrom welcomes the TCR International Series
Three weeks after the last event at the Salzburgring, the TCR International Series will resume this upcoming weekend (19-21 June) at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia, one of the newest international racing circuits.
The circuit has been designed by German architect Hermann Tilke around the Sochi Olympic Park, the venue of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The first ever Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix took place there on October 12th, 2014. Since then, the Sochi Autodrom has hosted rounds of the Russian national series, so the TCR International Series will be the first international championship other than F1 to visit Sochi.
The programme will follow usual pattern: Saturday will feature two thirty-minute Free Practice sessions and one thirty-minute Qualifying, split into Q1 (20 minutes for all drivers) and Q2 (10 minutes for the fastest twelve in Q1). The two races will then take place on Sunday, back-to-back over a distance of 60 kilometres.
All standard drivers and teams are on entry list for Sochi race, plus one Russian guest star – Alexey Dudukalo. He is one of the most popular Russian drivers, collecting a great deal of race victories and national titles in the last fifteen years, but also with rich international experience, including WTCC races. Currently he is leading the Touring category of Russian Circuit Racing Series (RSR) with Seat Seon. At the TCR event he will drive Seat Leon runned by Craft-Bamboo Lukoil team.
Apart from Dudukalo, there will be two more Russian drivers who committed to a full season campaign in TCR – Sergey Afanasyev (Craft-Bamboo Lukoil) and Mikhail Grachev (Liqui Moly Team Engstler). Grachev is not only the sole TCR driver who has already raced at Sochi, he has also written history there, as he won the very first race that inaugurated the track last year, a Russian Circuit Racing Series round held shortly before the Russian F1 Grand Prix.
Championship leader Gianni Morbidelli (West Coast Racing) and his team-mate Kevin Gleason will drive the heaviest cars on the track because of success balast according to previous results. Gleason won race and scored 38 points at Salzburgring, so will receive 30 kilos of balast. Morbidelli’s Honda Civic will be laden by 20 extra kilos. The 10 kilos of extra weight for the third best scorer will be allocated to Pepe Oriola’s Seat Leon.