Monza shunt to cost Dudukalo drive?

Reports suggest Aleksei Dudukalo could lose his drive with LADA on the back of the mistake that put the Russian team out of the WTCC season opener
Aleksei Dudukalo could find himself dropped by the LADA team on the back of the incident that forced the team to withdraw from the opening rounds of the new World Touring Car Championship season.

The Russian driver crashed into team-mate James Thompson at the Rettifilo chicane during the opening phase of qualifying at Monza, with the resultant damage being enough to put both cars out of the two races – despite Thompson somehow managing to get his battered car back to the pits in order to take part in Q2.

It meant a disappointing end to a weekend that had promised much for the LADA squad, with Thompson having been due to start the second race of the weekend from the front row of the grid.

“We're really proud to be able to be at the start of a full season,” team boss Viktor Shapovalov told TouringCarTimes. “The good news for us is the performance of the car, but we were not able to see it in a race situation so it's disappointing. We still have to do a lot of different things on the car, but basically it's fast and I'm happy with that.”

The qualifying incident could now cost Dudukalo dear, with speculation that he could be replaced by countryman Mikhail Kozlovskiy for the next round of the campaign in Morocco.

Although he didn't comment on that speculation, Shapovalov revealed that it would be down to title sponsor Lukoil as to who will be in the second car alongside Thompson in Marrakech next month.

“It's hard for me to make comments,” he said. “I think it's not worth it because we have what we have, it's time for us to concentrate on Marrakech. I'm not in charge of the drivers choice so I can't make comments on this, it's up to Lukoil but I hope their decision will be smart.

“All I will say is that we want to have two cars on the starting grid and we all have to work in that direction.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
James Thompson - LADA Granta Sport [Pic credit: FIA WTCC]
Gabriele Tarquini, Lada, Moscow [Credit: WTCC media]
Nicky Catsburg, Lada, WTCC [Credit: WTCC media]
Nicky Catsburg, Lada, WTCC [Credit: WTCC media]
Gabriele Tarquini - LADA Vesta TC1
Nicky Catsburg - Lada Sport Vesta
Gabriele Tarquini - Lada Sport Vesta   [pic credit: FIA WTCC media/Alexandre Guillaumot]
Rob Huff (GBR), LADA Sport, WTCC [Credit: XPB]
Nick Catsburg (NED), Lada Sport, WTCC, [Credit: Lada Sport]
Japp van Lagen (NED), Lada Sport, WTCC [Credit: LADA Sport]
James Thompson - Rosneft LADA Vesta
James Thompson - Rosneft LADA Vesta [credit: FIA WTCC]
Lada Vesta TC1 WTCC, testing, WTCC [Credit: Lada Sport]
James Thompson (GBR), LADA Sport, WTCC [Credit: LADA Sport]
James Thompson, Robert Huff, LADA Sport, WTCC [Credit: LADA Sport]
Lada Vesta TC1 WTCC [Credit: Lada Sport]
LADA reveals its new Vesta WTCC car
Rob Huff - LADA Sport [pic credit: FIA WTCC]

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