The seventh stage of the Russian Highway Championship (RSKG) was held on 30-31 October in Sochi, Russia, where 14 athletes competed in the TCR class. LV Racing Team driver Valters Zviedris, who raced “Audi RS3 LMS”, made his debut in this race.
In the TCR class, 14 athletes had two races – the first was the start in the course and the second from the place. 13 Russian drivers and one Latvian driver – 20-year-old Valters Zviedris, who represented the LV Racing team (“Audi RS3 LMS”) took part in the competition. Trainings were held on Thursday and Friday, qualifying on Saturday, and the competition itself on Sunday. Zviedris took 13th place in the qualification, 11th place was won in the first race and 10th place in the second race.
In a conversation with the portal “Go4speed”, Valters Zviedris revealed that the adventure in Russia has given him a lot of experience, as competitors were very strong, several of whom have also been successful internationally. “The level was very high – starting with the track and ending with the organization of the competition. The athletes who train all the time were also very professional, who are also paid salaries for racing in this series. The teams are spending huge amounts of money on this championship. In short, impressive. The track itself, on which F1 pilots recently raced, was at the highest level imaginable in the Baltics. Not only the cars we are used to seeing in this test (VW, Audi, Cupra) took part in the TCR class, but also several Lada cars that have passed homologation.”
”I have to say that it was very difficult for me to compete with them. A couple of trainings was not enough for me to get back on the track and compete with the drivers who have been racing on this track for several years. The local drivers said at the beginning that this was not the easiest track to ride for the first time and compete. However, in the last race, despite the failed start, we found the speed and proved that we are not slow. Of course, these athletes knew what better regulations to use. The choice of tires also played a big role – if they had 30 tires, we had less due to financial circumstances. It should be added that the lap on this track was made at an unusual length – two minutes and 20 seconds, which is twice as long as in Biķernieki race track,” says Valters Zviedris.
The athlete added that the results were great, and it is possible that one day we will see a Russian driver in the Biķernieki race track. “I would say that this race was very valuable and this race was like driving two seasons in the TCR class in the Baltics. Me and my team could learn a lot. The locals also welcomed us very much and told us a lot. They really like to welcome guests. This was a very valuable experience for us, so we will definitely try to come back next year. We made new and good contacts during the competition. Some Russian drivers said that if the races will not overlap, they plan to come to us to Riga as well.”
Although Zviedris was not able to fight for the highest places this time, the driver admitted that the level here is very high. ”I believe that the level of TCR class in the Baltics is high, but there are not so many drivers with this type of equipment. Here, in turn, all the drivers were at the highest level – 14 drivers on the track, all of whom drive within one second. I also lost only one second to the leaders in one lap in the last race, which in turn would be a lot on the Bikernieki track. But this time, training and racing at such a high level prevented a better result.”
Although he hoped for a higher result before the start, nevertheless, Zviedris and the team are very satisfied with the experience gained, which will give the inspiration to work further. “In general, we gained very valuable experience. It must be said that in a positive way for me and our team, this result somewhat settled that we are not world champions. Yes, we are fast against the common background in the Baltics, but here we still have a little shortage to fight for the highest places. This means that we still have a lot of work to do and it inspires us to work even harder to get where we want to go. This experience can only be assessed with many plus signs. We went to the Sochi track with the idea that we will be able to compete for higher places, but at the finish, it is as it is, but neither I, my dad nor the team regret anything. “
In conclusion, Valters added that their team was given boxes, where a few weeks ago the boxes were held for four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Fettel. ”There were plates with the names of F1 riders in the boxes where we and other athletes were. We got to be in the boxes where Sebastian Vettel was standing before. It was a pleasant feeling to drive on the track, which was driven by F1 pilots. The competition was broadcast on both television and YouTube. There were commentators and photographers on every corner. Really impressive.”