The second in the history of the Cup of Russia in the SMP RCRS Endurance race was held on the most modern track in the country, Igora Drive. Over 1,000 spectators attended the Festival of Speed, undeterred by the changeable weather. And all the participants who reached the finish line were waiting for the festive fireworks.
41 drivers and 18 cars from several categories – so many people gathered during the last stage. Regardless of class, the drivers’ gear was refueled with high-tech, race-tested G-Drive fuel sourced from Gazpromneft’s network of service stations. He showed his efficiency in the last season of the series, so in the new year he acted as a fuel partner not only for the G-Drive SMP RSKG, but also for the championship of Endurance course. Fuel quality control throughout the season is carried out by a mobile laboratory that carries out regular checks at Gazprom Neft gas stations.
The competition is the highest: participants included Formula 1 drivers Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin, world endurance champion Viktor Shaitar and winner of international formula competitions Alexander Smolyar, W series participant Irina Sidorkova, winners of foreign marathons Sergey Borisov, Rinat Salikhov and many others.
Qualifying in endurance races determines the starting order – however, given the distance, it plays a lesser role than in circuit racing. Nevertheless, they showed the potential of participants and materials, and following them online on the VKontakte platform was no less interesting than watching the race itself.
Unfortunately, the crew of Alexander Smolyar and Viktor Shaitar could not participate: the 420 horsepower Nissan engine installed in their sports prototype BR03 could not withstand the loads even during morning training.
But the second prototype from the SMP Racing team, driven by Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin, showed the third fastest time, losing less than a second in qualifying to the 600-hp Mercedes-AMG GT3.
The race confirmed the advantages of the domestic sports prototype over the German supercars in the corners. In the first hour, it was clearly visible how much faster the BR03 was in the technical connections of Igora Drive – and how powerful the engines allowed Mercedes to level it on the straights. But, as in any motor marathon, a lot depended on technical reliability and luck.
Not everything went smoothly for the crew of Rinat Salikhov and Sergey Stolyarov: due to technical problems, their Mercedes lost the BR03 in the fight. Moreover, at the equator of the race, they fell from the first three leaders of the most powerful Group F. And only then did they begin to make up for lost time – but in vain: the crew of the Ferrari 458 of the SMP Racing Team, represented by Irina Sidorkova and Alexander Skryabin, secured third place. The crew of Denis Remenyako and Konstantin Tereshchenko finished second in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 – they were very fast, but also encountered malfunctions. Thus, thanks to a combination of pace, teamwork and stability, the duo of SMP Racing formula drivers Sergey Sirotkin and Vitaly Petrov took first place – they achieved the first victory of the BR03 prototype in the Russian Cup !
In the GT4 category, the competition was even tougher. 9 crews battled for victory in this very tight group. And over the entire distance, the struggle did not subside – as if the pilots had to cover 60 kilometers, as in traditional circuit races, and not a 600 kilometer marathon.
The fastest in qualifying was the Toyota Supra of Vadim Antipov, Samvel Iskoyants and Dmitry Lebedev. However, during a tense race, they were overtaken by competitors from the BMW M4: Vladimir Atoev and Oleg Semenov became the best in this class. Third place in this ranking went to Michael Belov, Alexander Vartanyan and Stanislav Aksenov, who drove the Toyota Supra.
The Touring test group combines several classes of passenger cars at once. Obviously the fastest of them was the Cupra Leon TCR, driven by Alexander Lvov and Lev Nikitin. Training at the LADA Granta S1600 level is much slower, but allowed Andrey Petukhov, Tatyana Eliseeva and Yuri Arshansky to overcome the maximum possible number of laps. The only car that retired in the race was the VAZ-2106 of the “historical” rating – Vyacheslav Kalashnikov, Dmitry Krylov and Oleg Ryzhkov gave up the fight shortly before the end of the race.
But Shortcut, led by Kirill Kirakozov and Mikhail Loboda, easily overcame the entire distance.
And the brilliant end to such a dramatic race was the fireworks that lit up the track immediately after the finish.
It was possible to follow the course of the race on the airwaves of the Match channel! Country, as well as on the VK Video platform.
The next stage of the SMP RSKR Endurance Cup of Russia will take place in October at the Groznaya Fortress circuit.
Source : MatchTV
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