Sergey Afanasyev is, together with Mikhail Grachev, the only Russian driver committed to a full season campaign in the first TCR International Series season. The 27-year-old Moscovite is not an unknown face in international racing, as he built for himself a solid background in single-seaters (Formula Renault, F3, Formula Master, F2, AutoGP) with excellent results between 2004 and 2001, before switching to GT racing and taking the FIA GT Pro-Am title in 2013.
Still, touring cars are completely new to him: “This is my first experience in touring car racing and with front-wheel drive cars. It’s not easy at all, but it’s an exciting challenge,” he admitted. “I need to say that it would be much more difficult without a team such as Craft-Bamboo Lukoil. It’s really great to work with professionals of their level, who are doing their utmost to support my development process and to get me to the level of my team mates, Pepe Oriola and Jordi Gené, two top references in the category.”
Sergey’s switch to touring cars and the TCR was somehow a surprise to him: “It was Lukoil that brought me in this direction, and when it comes to looking for the best opportunities, I trust them fully. I must say they were right. This is a really global series, well organized and with a great future. Even some points that are never easy to handle, such as the Balance of Performance, are being taken care of properly. I am still learning, getting familiar with a new style of driving, where aerodynamics play a lesser role, braking points are different, rubbing and touches are part of the game, but I am sure I will be able to do good things soon…”
Afanasyev, who is currently undertaking a Masters in Economics and has an interest in start-ups besides motorsports, seems to be enjoying every moment of his new racing life and looks forward to this weekend: “I don’t know the Sochi track, but I’m very excited: it’s home race and it is going to be a big thing…”
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