Lukoil Racing’s young gun Klim Gavrilov claimed an authoritative victory in the TCR Russia opening race at Fort Grozny. At the wheel of his Audi RS3 LMS, Gavrilov survived a tough battle and a mistake to beat the LADA Vesta cars of Mikhail Grachev and Vladimir Sheshenin.
The race turned into a fight from the beginning; under a light rain Dmitry Bragin took the lead from Gavrilov, while Aleksey Dudukalo, Sheshenin and Kirill Ladygin jostled for the positions. Gavrilov overtook Bragin for the lead, and the reigning champion collided with Dudukalo on the straight, with the latter spinning. There was more fighting and clashing for second place, between Bragin, Ladygin and Irek Minnakhmetov, until Bragin pitted on lap 3 with a broken rear wheel.
Gavrilov looked in control, but then made a mistake at the last turn and dropped to second behind Ladygin. Behind them Dudukalo was third, chased by Grachev and Sheshenin. After mid race, Ladygin began to have tyre problems and his pace faded; Gavrilov and Dudukalo were chasing him closely. On lap 11, Gavrilov retook the lead, while Dudukalo made a couple of mistakes and dropped to sixth. With three laps to go, while Gavrilov had built a comfortable gap, Ladygin went wide at the last turn and dropped to fifth.
In vain Grachev and Sheshenin tried to fill the gap from Gavrilov and eventually settled for second and third, while fourth place went to Lukoil Racing’s rookie Ivan Lukashevich in his SEAT León DSG. Dudukalo and Ladygin finished fifth and sixth.
Race 2 will start tomorrow at 11:40 local time (10:40 CET); live streaming at www.tcr-series.com and www.tcr-series.tv.
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