SMP Racing driver Kirill Ladygin took the win of the 23rd Champions’ Race, which took place on January 19 in Tolyatti.Fairly warm weather in the European part of Russia also affected the state of the icy track near Tolyatti. Already by the middle of the competition, there were deformations on both tracks, which markedly influenced the behavior of the car and the difficulty of driving it. Nevertheless, Kirill Ladygin successfully started the Sunday race ahead of his rivals, first in the qualifying races in his group, and then in the 1/4 and 1/2 finals - ahead of Aidar Nuriev and Egor Sanin, respectively.
In the final, Ladygin competed with an experienced driver Mikhail Mityaev. In the first run, Mikhail was 0.6 seconds ahead of Kirill. In the second final race, Kirill took the lead with a 0.4 second gap, so the third round was decisive. Having exchanged cars, Kirill and Mikhail started at the same time, however, the SMP Racing driver managed to move ahead and was the first to cross the finish line.
Kirill Ladygin repeated his last year’s success and again won the Silver Rook, the main prize of the competition. In total, Ladygin has now seven victories in the Champions’ Race - he stood on the top step of the podium in 2007, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020.
According to the rules of the competition, a driver who has won a race twice in a row receives a trophy for life. Thus, Kirill Ladygin has become the permanent owner of the Silver Rook.
Another SMP Racing driver Vitaly Petrov also took part in this competition, did his best to qualify for the final in his group, but was overtaken by experienced and strong rivals. One of them is Egor Sanin, who subsequently took third place in the race.
“The first final race turned out to be difficult, Mikhail was able to overtake me,” SMP Racing driver Kirill Ladygin shared after the finish of the race. “I made a small mistake, did not get into the transmission. In the second and third races I was ahead of Mikhail. It was not an easy fight. This once again proves high level and experience of drivers. Thank you, the team, for preparing the car, the SMP Racing program and the organizers of the race, thank you to my family for their support - Vika, Anya and Sasha."
Photos: Maria Melnikova, LADA Sport ROSNEFT.