Having lost her seat in the all-female single seater championship, Irina Sidorkova will return to motor racing in RSKG, a national touring car championship.
2022 started with high expectations for what would be the driver's second consecutive season in W Series for 18-year-old Irina Sidorkova, who secured a podium in her rookie season as part of the Academy program. However, unexpected factors completely out of her control changed the plans.
Irina even showed up in Barcelona for pre-season testing, held at the Circuit of Catalunya in March. But as she had to come to terms with something bigger than her and, as a result of the governing bodies' decisions, her participation was suspended. After a few days it was eventually confirmed that the young driver would not appear on the 2022 entry list.
The following months brought a sad uncertainty about the future of her racing career, but a new opportunity eventually arose and Irina Sidorkova announced she will return to racing. She will return to RSKG, the national championship that played an important role during her development as a driver and helped her popularity.
In her history in the competition, Irina was the runner-up in 2017 and claimed the title in the following year, always in the National Junior class. Her most recent season in RSKG was in 2020, when she should have made her rookie appearance in W Series, but the season was ultimately scrapped altogether due to the pandemic.
The on-track competitions were replaced by a sim-racing championship, where Irina stood out in several rounds, achieving 5 victories in addition to 9 more podiums - which gave her the 3rd place in the final classification.
During the virtual competition, the opportunity to compete in the real world came up as well and Sidorkova returned to RSKG in July of the same year - however, this time, in a new class, the Touring Light.
Her participation in the championship was marked by several challenges, mainly mechanical issues - but the driver who was just 17 at the time, showed talent and adaptability, claiming victory in race 1 of the sixth round, as well as a third place in the penultimate race of the last round.
At the wheel of a Volkswagen Polo - named 'Smurf II' - Ira finished in 9th place at the end of the season.
Now, in just under a month, Sidorkova will look forward to return to her profession. She will make her debut in the second most powerful category in RSKG, the Super-Production - this time driving a Subaru BRZ. We had the opportunity to talk to the racing driver, to catch up with her plans.
"I have been a professional racing driver since I was 6. So, my plan for this season is to win the Championship."
RACERS: Ira, how did the plan to come back to RSKG come about? Did you expect to have that opportunity to return to racing this year?
IRINA: "It came very unexpected that I was out of W Series this year. I have been preparing for the 2022 W Series season and was ready to compete for the top places in the season. So, when I was out of W Series, I faced a situation where I had no budget and no possibilities to race. Thankfully I received support to continue my season nationally."
R: We saw that you did two tests, in Sochi and in Nizhny Novgorod, where you had the chance to get to know the Subaru BRZ. What did you think of the car and the experience behind the wheel?
I: "I spent not enough time driving the BRZ to understand it to the top of my fingers, as they say. But I like it. The idea is to drive a rear-drive car not to loose the feelings in case one day I have another chance to drive a formula car."
R: You have a winning history in the RSKG, particularly in the National Junior class. We also saw your participation in the Touring Light class in 2020, where you showed your skills and overcame various difficulties during that season. As you make your debut in a new category, the Super Production, what do you expect from this new challenge?
I: "I have been a professional racing driver since I was 6. So, my plan for this season is to win the Championship.
But I guess other drivers have the same plans. Besides, the Lada factory team is definitely a very strong competitor."
R: Ira, we know that you have a large number of fans on your social media - and many were left with uncertainty about your future as well. How was the online response?
I: "Unfortunately, lately I receive too much hate just for being Russian. I am very upset with that. Since my childhood my parents taught me that there can be bad and good people anywhere and it never depends on their nation, colour of skin, age, height, weight etc.
Nevertheless, I want to say a big thank you to all my fans and people who keep supporting me in my race career and still believe that I am a interesting and good person!"
The RSKG season calendar is planned for 5 rounds, between June and October. The first races of the championship will take place at the Smolensk Ring from 8th to 10th June. Until then, Irina Sidorkova will continue to work hard in preparation for her return to the track, with the hope to one day return to the international scene!