Crash.Net WTCC News
Van Lagen fails to fly the flag for LADA
23 November 2009
The factory LADA team endured a tough end to the World Touring Car Championship season, with Jaap van Lagen the only one of the team's three drivers to make it to race day in Macau.
Accidents earlier in the weekend accounted for both James Thompson and Kirill Ladygin, leaving van Lagen as the sole representative for the Russian manufacturer in the final two races of the season.
Forced to start from the back of the field thanks to a ten-place grid penalty for an engine change in Okayama, van Lagen managed to make up seven places in race one before the engine in his Priora failed, with the team unable to get him out on the grid for the final race of the year.
“It didn't go well for us this weekend," van Lagen reflected. "We were struggling a bit all the time, but during the seven race laps that we completed, it was actually going okay. I'm sure we could have made up a few more places to give us the best possible start for race two.
“Unfortunately it wasn't to be but although we've had a lot of bad luck this year, there are a lot of positives that we can take away as well. We have definitely evolved the Priora well and we are getting closer and closer to the points positions. I'm now really looking forward to 2010, when I am sure we will be even stronger.”
Team principal Viktor Shapovalov admitted that the season finale had been a huge let down for his team but said he was pleased with the way his outfit had progressed over the course of the year, with the switch to the Priora from the ageing 110 having seen a noticeable upturn in performance.
"This season has been full of ups and downs, although this was certainly our biggest down,” he said. “But our objective at the beginning of the year was to improve all the time and start scoring points by the end of the year.
“We are completely on schedule as James took a fantastic sixth place at Imola, twice, and Jaap was very close to fifth in Oschersleben. Also in Okayama we were heading for fifth and eighth. We know that we still have a long way to go, but we will keep on working hard and I am sure that next year will be very interesting for us."