A new project of a Russian motorsport development programme, the SMP RCRS Endurance series of endurance races, was successfully launched at Sochi Autodrom on 1 April. For 3 hours, more than fifty drivers have fought for victory in their classes and the overall standings.
Boris Rotenberg, the founder and head of SMP Racing, a Russian motorsport development programme, and Veniamin Kondratiev, the head of the Krasnodar Region, followed the events on the track.
There were 22 teams at the start. The drivers’ cars were fuelled with race-tested high-tech G-Drive fuel from the Gazpromneft petrol station network. It showed its effectiveness in the last season of the series, influencing the improvement of the technical results of the racers, therefore, in the new year, it acted not only as the fuel partner of the G-Drive SMP RCRS, but also the endurance racing championship. Fuel quality will be monitored throughout the season by a mobile laboratory that conducts regular inspections at the Gazpromneft petrol stations.
Half a thousand intense racing kilometres and pit stops for driver changes, refuelling and tyre changes awaited the drivers.
Alas, already on the warm-up lap, Sergey Stolyarov crashed his Mercedes-AMG GT3, one of the fastest cars in Group F, which was competing for high places in the overall standings. The race was also unsuccessful for the Formula 1 drivers competing for SMP Racing: Vitaly Petrov handed over the wheel to Sergey Sirotkin an hour after the start, slightly behind the leader of the race. However, shortly thereafter, Russian sports prototype number 11 retired from the race due to suspension problems.
Thus, the fastest car on the track was the Mercedes-AMG GT3 (No. 13) of the Capital Racing Team. Even two drive-through penalties did not affect the result of the team - and Denis Remenyako and Egor Orudzhev took the victory in Group F.
There was a serious fight for the second place in the overall standings - and in the final part of the race. It featured drivers in cars of the GT4 class, the second fastest category of the Russian circuit racing. Vladimir Atoev in a BMW M4, Anton Nemkin and Sergey Borisov in a Mercedes-AMG GT4 and Michael Belov in a Toyota Supra ended up together half an hour before the end of the marathon and produced a series of beautiful overtakes. In the end, car No. 51, uniting Stanislav Aksenov, Michael Belov and Alexander Vartanyan, turned out to be the best - second place in the overall and victory in the GT4 class. Car No. 10, represented by Sergei Borisov and Maxim Kizilov, and car No. 83 - Anton Nemkin and Boris Shulmeister - finished behind them.
The Touring category combines cars of the usual body classes of the Russian circuit racing - and the Audi RS3 LMS No. 4 driven by Dmitry Bragin and Pavel Kalmanovich was the fastest one in this category.
Sergey Ievlev, Sergey Aglish and Alexey Chernov won in the CN Sport Prototype class.
Albert Gainullin, Stepan Anufriev and Mark Novikov were the best in an S1600 class car. It is noteworthy that at a long distance LADA Granta turned out to be more enduring than the Kia Rio and Hyundai Solaris of the competitors.
The next round of the SMP RCRS Endurance series having the status of a Russian Cup will be held at the Igora Drive circuit on 27 May. But before that, motorsport fans will be able to enjoy rounds of SMP RCRS Touring, a circuit racing series, the earliest of which will take place at Sochi Autodrom on 21-23 April. For more information about the event, which, in addition to 7 races, includes all the activities of the Festival of Speed, visit https://festival.raf-rcrs.ru/23tstage1.