Mikhail Kozlovskiy says he is excited by the prospect of making his debut in the World Touring Car Championship this weekend in Marrakech.
The 23-year-old will replace Aleksei Dudukalo as partner to James Thompson in the LADA Sport Lukoil after the Dudukalo was dropped on the back of his mistake at Monza that saw the two cars collide in qualifying – and which resulted in the team being forced to withdraw from race day.
Kozlovskiy will move into the WTCC having previously won the SEAT Leon Russia Cup and the touring light class of the Russian Touring Car Championship, while he competed in the Russian series at the wheel of a LADA Granta last year.
“I am happy to join the LADA Sport Lukoil team,” he said. “Each driver of touring cars dreams of the WTCC and I am not an exception. I wanted to participate in the World Championship and now I'll do my best to show good results.
“The Marrakech debut without any tests will not be an easy matter, but I hope to be fast and not to lose too much time adapting. However, the LADA Granta is not absolutely new for me as I drove the similar version last year in the Russian Racing Championship.”
Team boss Viktor Shapovalov said he felt sure that Kozlovskiy would do a good job for the team when he makes his debut.
“Mikhail is a young talented driver,” he said. “I am sure he will be able to adapt to the car, to the team and the format of the World Championship. We are ready to support him.
“We have experience of working with him in Russian Racing Championship, when he was a driver of Lukoil Racing Team LADA and I think our partnership in WTCC will be successful.”