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  • Writer's pictureIGOR LAERTE

Ira Sidorkova climbs to the podium in a double Duty weekend at the RCRS

For the second time in her career, Irina Sidorkova competed in two different classes in the same weekend - GT4 and Endurance - and climbed to the podium after taking P2 in the 3-hour race.


Ira Sidorkova
Photo credits: Dmitry Galchun

The young driver, Irina Sidorkova, who has just turned 21, performed the second "double duty" of her career last weekend. She returned to sprint racing this year, competing in the full-season GT4 class of the RCRS national series. Additionally, Sidorkova is also participating in the endurance racing season, continuing her development program in this type of competition.


During a weekend marked by constantly changing weather conditions in the Kazan Canyon Ring region, activities in all RCRS sprint and endurance classes were held, and Ira Sidorkova was present in both. The most recent instance where she competed in two classes in the same weekend was in 2022, when she participated in the closing round of the Super-Production class and made her debut in the 4-hour Akhmat Race.


GT4 CLASS

In the previous round, hosted in Nizhny Novgorod, Ira Sidorkova experienced various moments throughout the three races, demonstrating her persistence in fighting for the podium by achieving a double P4. In race 3, she suffered her first DNF of the season after a collision, but the points collected still kept her in the top 4 of the championship.


The first track activities of the third round took place between Tuesday, June 17th, and Thursday with the free practice sessions. During this period, conditions changed drastically, starting with sunny skies and temperatures reaching +32°C, to heavy rain at times. Despite this, Sidorkova valued the opportunities to practice in different scenarios and remained confident for the following sessions.


However, in qualifying, held on Thursday, June 20th, Sidorkova's Mercedes AMG GT4 suffered a break in the alternator belt, hampering her participation in the session. Despite this, she managed to complete a lap in 1:26.275, which placed her in 7th position on the starting grid for race 1.


Races 1 - 2

Certainly, this was the most challenging weekend for Irina Sidorkova so far in 2024. Mechanical problems in her #51 car compromised her performance. In race 1, starting from P7, the young driver dropped to 8th for a few laps. Despite being unable to reach a stronger pace, she regained her starting position and collected a few more points.


"Oh, not much to say. Technical difficulties have plagued me and the car this weekend and haven't stopped yet. But I think you saw for yourself that we lacked pace and speed... Now the team is trying to get everything right, preparing the car for the second race," said Sidorkova about the first race of the weekend.


"But still, there is a note of positivity. This time, I made a very good start and found myself in a position where I could see the lights. This is better defined than it was in the previous rounds," she added, highlighting the positive aspects.


Ira Sidorkova
Photo credits: Capital Racing Team

In race 2, Sidorkova started again in 7th position on the grid. With the issues on her car being fixed, she was better able to recover and performed better. From the first moment, it was clear that conditions were improved, and she quickly gained two positions, moving up to P5.


For much of the race, Ira Sidorkova and Andrey Solukovtsev had an intense duel for 4th place and, with a beautiful overtake in turn 1, Sidorkova passed her competitor. The pace she showed would certainly have allowed her to fight for a place on the podium, but with little time remaining, Irina crossed the finish line in P4, just 1.8 seconds behind third place.


"We finally resolved our technical issues and got our pace back up to speed. Good start, great fight, and overall a good advance to fourth place. I'm happy to have scored important points!"


Race 3

The following day, expectations for Ira Sidorkova to reach the podium for the second time this season were promising. She started the last race of the round in P4 and, in the first few laps, she had already gained a position and recorded the fastest lap on lap 2.

On lap 4, Sidorkova still had time to fight for second place, but suddenly her car started to lose power, and due to mechanical problems, she unfortunately had to retire.


"Totally bad luck... Although there were chances, even in these conditions, the pace was very good at the beginning. Okay, now the focus is on the next stage after the break. We will return with renewed vigor and, I hope, good luck. The championship is not over yet, there's no time to be sad!" said Ira Sidorkova after the end of the third round of the championship in the GT4 category.


Despite the difficulties, Sidorkova managed to collect important points and remained in the top 4 of the drivers' standings with 117 points to her name. Now there will be a longer break until the next round, which will take place between August 23rd and 24th.


Endurance - 3-hours race

Coming from a complicated opening round in May, where mechanical problems compromised the participation and final result of Ira Sidorkova's crew at Moscow Raceway, the second round of the Endurance class season was a new opportunity for the young driver to bounce back in the championship. Alongside her in the crew driving the BR03 #51 prototype this time was an old friend, the experienced driver Kirill Ladygin, with whom she shared the same vehicle in 2023.


Competing in Group F, Ladygin was on board for the first half of the race, which started with a wet track and lasted for 3 hours on Sunday afternoon. The team adopted a different strategy than its competitors, anticipating its first pit stop and managing tyre sets well, given the changing track conditions.


The crew cycled between second and third place for much of the race, but in the final stint, with Ira Sidorkova at the wheel, they managed to catch up and overtake the #21 Balchug car with just over 20 minutes remaining, ultimately securing second place. Thus, the duo achieved their first podium in the 2024 RCRS Endurance season.


"Great race, I did a great job with pit stop tactics, I covered the entire distance perfectly without making a single mistake," celebrated Ira Sidorkova after the endurance in Kazan.


Ira Sidorkova
Photo credits: Grigory Golyshev

The next round will take place between the 3rd and 6th of July, at Moscow Raceway - and will be the longest race of the year, lasting 6 hours.

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