TAIF Motorsport’s 2016 champion Dmitry Bragin began the season as the points leader with a victory and a fourth place in the TCR Russia races at Fort Grozny.
Bragin – who has switched from last year’s SEAT León to an Audi RS3 LMS – lost a possible podium in Race 1 after a collision with Lukoil Racing’s Nikolay Karamyshev. But in the second race he made a great start and managed to keep at bay Vitaliy Dudin (Akhmat Racing Team SEAT).
The first race was dominated by Kiril Ladygin and Vladimir Sheshenin in the Vesta cars of LADA Sport Rosneft. The Russian cars run with a temporary homologation and before the second race were given a 45-kilo BoP extra weight and had their power reduced to 95%.
Bragin leads the standings with 38 points, two more than Ladygin; Aleksey Dudukalo (Lukoil Racing SEAT) and Dudin are third and fourth with gaps of 5 and 7 points respectively.
Race 1 – Ladygin’s LADA took a perfect start from pole position, while Sheshenin’s sister Vesta was fighting with the SEAT cars of Dudukalo and Karamyshev and with Bragin’s Audi.
Sheshenin managed to keep second place, while Karamyshev moved up to third overtaking Bragin, the two made contact and Bragin dropped to fifth behind Dudukalo. Behind the top five, Dudin passed Gavrilov for sixth on lap 2.
Positions did not change until lap 10, when Dudukalo overtook Bragin and climbed to fourth. In the final part of the race Dudukalo advanced one more place by passing Karamyshev who was chased by Bragin. On the last lap Karamyshev was clack flagged for the incident with Bragin who advanced to third.
Race 2 – Bragin made a great start from fifth on the grid and led from Tolkachev and Dudin who moved up to second on lap 2. Lukoil Racing teammate Golikov and Gavrilov collided and retired. After stalling the engine at the start, Sheshenin was recovering, while Dudukalo climbed to third.
Bragin and Dudin had a close fight for the lead throughout the whole race; eventually Bragin crossed the line with a 0.6-second margin; Dudukalo and Karamyshev followed in third and fourth.
The TCR Russia will resume in two weeks at the Smolenskring.