The opening round of the TCR Trophy Europe takes place this weekend at the Smolensk Ring, within the season opener of the RAF Russian Circuit Racing Series.
This is the second year that TCR cars have a dedicated class inside the RCRS; in 2015, only Lukoil Racing took up the challenge, running three SEAT León cars for Aleksey Dudukalo, Roman Golikov and Rustam Akiniyazov. The trio dominated in both performance and reliability; Dudukalo, Golikov and Akiniyazov filled the three top positions in the championship ahead of a bunch of Super 2000 and Super Production cars.
The promoter’s bet has paid off and for the new season no fewer than ten competitors are entered in the TCR class, all at the wheel of SEAT cars. Lukoil Racing reinforced its winning team with the addition of former European Touring Car champion Nikolay Karamishev to Dudukalo and Golikov, while another ETCC champion, Dmitry Bragin, will race for TAIF Motorsport that will also field three cars. Amongst the other participants are Irek Minnakhmetov, former champion in the Russian Rallycross series and Rustam Minnikhanov, the winner of Russian and European Autocross titles.
The Smolensk Ring is located near the city of Safonovo, 90 kilometres East of Smolensk; it was inaugurated in 2010 and is 3.3 km long.