Photo: WTCC Media

Viktor Shapovalov confident ahead of 2015

Viktor Shapovalov, Lada Sport’s team boss, has finally reached the first goal he set for the Russian manufacturer’s programme in the FIA World Touring Car Championship this year after Rob Huff clinched its maiden win in the series at Beijing, China.

In an interview with TouringCarTimes the Russian explored his memories of the season, as well as talking about the new Lada Vesta which is due to replace the current Granta in 2015.

“This season we achieved an important goal, I couldn’t be happier,” said Shapovalov. “The team has done a tremendous job all over these years and it is a fitting reward to all of our efforts. I had been dreaming about winning for a long time and we finally made it!”

When asked about the prospects for next year, Shapovalov is confident that the upcoming Vesta will be a more competitive challenger than the Granta straight away:”With the amount of work we are putting in the car and the philosophy we are implementing in the new Vesta, I believe our competitiveness will have a big boost next year. Our partner Oreca is heavily involved in the project, and Lada have a strong belief in this championship, so we are confident.”

Speaking of which, Shapovalov confirmed that the WTCC programme is seen as very important at AvtoVaz to improve the image of the brand:”Of course the direction Lada will take comes from a big confidence in us from the manufacturer. The image of the brand is improving through its success in the WTCC and in that sense it is another positive pressure we will have for the coming years.”

Viktor Shapovalov also announced that Lada have no plans to run a customer programme next year, and therefore Macau will be the last appearance of the TC1 Grantas in the WTCC:”We have no intentions to supply our cars to customers at the moment. With the new Vesta it will become possible, but as for the three cars we are fielding now, they will go to the museum.”

Lada already announced that the driver line-up will remain unchanged for next year, meaning Rob Huff, James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy will be at the wheel of the upcoming Lada Vestas.