Ira Sidorkova makes a remarkable debut in RSKG
Updated: Jul 11, 2022
In her RSKG return, Irina Sidorkova reached the podium in both races of the first round.
The expectations for the return of young racing driver Irina Sidorkova, 18, to the motorsport scene were met by a brilliant performance over the weekend.
In the first round of touring car series RSKG hosted at the Smolensk Ring between 10th and 12th of June, Sidorkova had the opportunity to start a new journey in her career - and the first chapter proved to be very promising.
"I was aiming at winning, but the second and the third places also gave me a good start and good points to compete for the Championship."
On track action started on Friday 10th with free practice, where Sidorkova set the third fastest time among the Super-Production class entries with a 1:38.491 lap.
Sidorkova - who last competed in RSKG in 2020 - is at her debut in the Super-Production class.
In the qualifying session that set the grid for race 1, she improved her performance and signed a 1:37.549, only 01.302 off pole position, claimed by Roman Golikov. The time achieved on the second lap of the session gained Irina 6th place on the grid.
The long-awaited first race was scheduled for the following day, however, heavy rains hit the circuit overnight, leaving a section of the track partially flooded. The conditions meant that all races had to be postponed to Sunday, June 12.
Starting from 6th position, Ira Sidorkova was already showing good pace at the beginning of the race, and on the third lap she took 5th place after Roman Golikov had left the track.
Abord her #51 Subaru BRZ, Sidorkova continued to improve her pace, trying to close in on Nikolay Vikhansky and on lap 6 she set the fastest lap of the race by recording a 1:37.608. In the next lap, she overtook Vikhansky to continue her pursuit of the leaders.
After an intense battle for 3rd place against Ivan Chubarov #8, on lap 16 she finally managed to get the pass done, reaching a place on the podium. However, there was still time to move further up - as Sanvel Iskoyants had problems and lost positions on the last lap.
With that, Sidorkova crossed the finish line in second place, scoring her first 24 points in the championship. The race was won by Leonid Panfilov and Ivan Chubarov completed the podium in third.
In the second race of the day, Irina Sidorkova started in third position - and already in the first corners she found herself in a difficult situation. She got squeezed by the #33 car of Roman Golikov and the #44 of Sanvel Iskoyants, who had made contact with each other causing the first crash of the season.
Sidorkova was skilled to avoid getting involved and kept her Subaru BRZ unscratched, continuing the race. The safety car was deployed and it neutralized the action until the 7th lap.
After the restart, Irina remained in third position until she saw the checkered flag, even though she was pressed by Nikolay Vikhansky's #88 car.
The result earned Sidorkova 16 more points in the championship - and guaranteed her the third place in the table, as she collected 40 points and 19 points adrift the leader, Leonid Panvilov.
We spoke with Irina about her very promising weekend in Smolensk. She also told us about the accident in Race 2 and her expectations for the upcoming rounds.
RACERS: Congratulations on the result obtained in your debut in the Super Production class. You told us recently that you would fight at the top of the championship and you proved that you are indeed still a top level competitor, even though you have been out of racing for quite some time. Did you expect to leave Smolensk with 2 trophies and in the runner-up position of the championship?
IRINA: "Thanks a lot! I am a professional, so, I am always in to compete for the win. So, I was aiming at winning, but the second and the third places also gave me a good start and good points to compete for the Championship."
R: Right at the beginning of Race 2 you were squeezed by two cars, which ended up colliding. What went through your mind at that moment, from your point of view?
I: "It was a tough accident as I believe, caused by one of the drivers who was too aggressive to gain a position without any proper preparatory work. At that moment you have nothing in your mind, except reflexes that you have been training throughout your race career to act in such situation. It is your hands and legs working more and faster than your head!"
R: Now, talking about the car and compared to the previous tests, what do you feel about the technical issues and your adaptation to them, but in a racing scenario?
I: "The car is fast! It needs more time to be 100% precise with that type of manual gear and some more time to feel the tyres better."
R: "Despite being a young driver, you have always shown a remarkable wisdom and modesty as an athlete to manage every moment of your career. After such a result, how are your expectations for the next round in Nizhny and for the rest of the season?"
I: "I am young, but I've been in this business since I was 6. That is 12 years already. So, I am quite an experience race driver. As I told you, the team and I are aiming at winning the Championship! I hope for the support of all my fans. That is exactly what I need now, living through rather extraordinary times as a young athlete!"
The next round of RSKG takes place next month, between the 8th and 10th of July. At Nizhny Novgorod, Sidorkova will have a new opportunity to continue showing her talent and fight at the top of the championship.