James Thompson celebrated his return to the World Touring Car Championship at Imola by helping the factory LADA team to secure its first points finishes.
The Briton, returning to action after missing the Oschersleben race weekend, qualified 15th at the wheel of his Priora, which was benefitting from running a flat floor in an effort to improve top speed.
Thompson qualified in 15th place but survived contact ahead at the start to quickly climb into the points, keeping pace with his rivals to finish in sixth place.
Despite a poor start which saw him lose places at the start of race two, Thompson was able to climb as high as fifth before losing a place late on, although he picked up more points with a second sixth place finish of the weekend.
"It's been a great weekend for LADA on a circuit that I love, and this pair of results definitely shows that we are making progress," he said. "Through our careful hard work the car seems to be getting better and better. We've got to be realistic as there is still plenty to do, but this is certainly a sign that we are heading in the right direction.”
Team Principal Viktor Shapovalov was also thrilled to see the Russian manufacturer score points for the first time.
"This has been a great weekend for us,” he said. “Not only have we scored our first points, in both races, but we have also improved our pace to the point where we can really compete with our rivals. We can be very proud of everything we have achieved so far. I would like to thank our drivers and all our team members for doing such a great job and believing in our potential. We will continue to work hard on development, with the aim of keeping this same pace in future."
Kirill Ladygin secured two finishes on his second outing with the Priora although the weekend ended in disappointment for Jaap van Lagen, who was forced out of the first race after rolling into the barriers following contact from Kristian Poulsen. As a result he failed to make the start of race two.