The Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing team enjoyed a successful weekend at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia for last weekends two races in the 2015 TCR International Series.
During a weekend that saw the team expand to four SEAT Leon Racers with regular drivers Jordi Gene, Pepe Oriola and Sergey Afanasyev being joined by ex-WTCC driver Alexsey Dudukalo, the squad took its biggest haul of points so far in this years championship.
Despite losing his fastest time in qualifying, Gene took pole position for race one and went on to convert it into a race win, while Oriola made an excellent start to make up several places and move up behind his team-mate to secure second position and give the squad a one-two finish. Afanasyev enjoyed several on track battles to finish in fifth position.
Race two was a more embattled affair as the drivers had to fight their way through the midfield. Afansyev made encouraging progress over the opening laps as he moved up to third place, however he would lose out to Mikhail Grachev and come home in fourth. Oriola fought his way past several drivers to find himself in second position near the finish, but that didn’t stop him charging after Stefano Comini for the win. Oriola settled for second place whilst Gene ended up coming home in fifth.
Oriola was very happy with his days work which left him in second in the Drivers Championship.
“Really happy after the 1-2 Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil victory in race one,” said Oriola. “It got better in race two with my second place of the day.
“I’m really close to the lead in the championship, so it was a really positive weekend, I’m looking forward to the red bull ring in two weeks and I am looking to go to Asia with the lead in the championship.”
Afansyev praised the team for its hard work.
“It was lovely to drive on the F1 circuit and it was a really well organized event,” reflected Afansyev. “It was a great job by the entire Craft-Bamboo Lukoil team.
“I am really glad and amazed, we did our best collecting points and it was the best weekend for us so far in terms of points. There are a few races to go and we will be pushing ourselves to develop and to fight for the championship. We had good starts in both races and I had some good fights with different drivers in both races. I also had a great battle with Jordi, so it was a really good race weekend for all of us.”
Gene was happy with the ground he made up in the Championship.
“Very good weekend so far, impressive Saturday with good qualifying and my second win of the season in race one,” said Gene. “It is really good to do it here in Russia, the home of my main sponsor Lukoil.
“Race two wasn’t as good, but I still got a lot of points. I am now only 20 points form the championship lead, so it has been a very good weekend and I hope I can have similar results next round in Austria.”
Team Principal Richard Coleman was overjoyed with the squads performance.
“What a fantastic weekend it was here at Sochi, for the home race of our title sponsor Lukoil and driver Sergey Afanaysev,” said Coleman. “We scored the most points out of any round so far here and it gets us very close to the championship leaders.
“We still have quite a few races to go and we will be making sure to remain consistent and take home every available point. We will be looking to take the lead in both championships next round in Austria.”