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Russian Driver Vitaly's racing career from early days to Formula 1

#1 Пользователь офлайн   bringing_luck 

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Отправлено 27 Сентябрь 2011 - 10:32

Dear friends!
Since this forum is dedicated to Vitaly Petrov, we thought it might be interesting for you to read all about and trace his racing career - from the very start up to his joining the Formula 1 championship.
All of the materials that will be posted here have been carefully collected, sorted out and presented by our users Островитянин, Pors and Korki, so I want to say them a huuuge "thank you"! The translation is mine.

You are welcome to comment on what you shall see and read here. :)
Get well soon, Robert!!!
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#2 Пользователь офлайн   bringing_luck 

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Отправлено 28 Сентябрь 2011 - 19:21

Year 2001

Unlike most Formula One drivers for whom carting became the first step in their driving career, Vitaly Petrov began his own with taking part in other sort of racing competitions. Among his most early success in motorsport one can mention victories and podiums in St.Petersburg and all-Russian rally-sprint championships, where he performed as a member of his home town team “Vyborg-Pilot” which, in its turn, represented Vyborg sports club “Favorit”.

When Vitaly was seventeen, he decided to participate, together with his friend, in all-Russian racing championship on native automobiles “Lada Cup” of year 2001. His first racing auto was a simple "vosmerka" (a VAZ 2108 model) which he and his friend built a suitable racing. Victory wasn’t easy for him to get. During first three races the young racer performed brilliantly and scored 300 points out of 300 possible, i.e. maximum. A sudden fit of appendicitis and the following operation made Vitaly skip the fourth race but nevertheless he managed to prepare for the fifth race and was the first to cross the finish line.

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The Result!))

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Year 2002.

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Vitaly’s coming into closed circuit racing championships became a crucial moment. At the beginning of the century the most available among other options was the “Lada Cup”, however, for the same reason (availability) many strong and talented racers with no financial support for further and more serious career development performed there. The more amazing seems the fact that, from second attempt, the quiet and untalkative young man of Vyborg outraced all of the grandmasters. They say, some people in Togliatti were vexed that the winner of «their» racing series was a “stranger”, but there is nothing to do about this – Vitaly won his cup in fair fight.

In the same year of 2002 one more important event took place: the young racer and his parents got acquainted to Oksana Kossatcenko, a manager with connections in European racing community. Both sides decided to unite their efforts. In the nearest future they will head to Europe to conquer it...


Vitaly’s victorious podium on the "Togliatti-Ring" circuit. The summer of year 2002.
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The Vyborg Phenomenon


Цитата

The borderland town of Vyborg, even being the actual “gates” into all-about-racing Finland, could hardly ever be considered a center of motorsport. However, during last two years its name gets mentioned in reports of various racing car series competitions more and more often. The interesting fact is that the name in question was situated at the top of the list and always against the same name. This name was Vitaly Petrov’s.
We’re sitting with the 2001 season rally-sprint champion in a small café beside a St.Petersburg motor track. He is also the winner and prize owner in lots of ice races and rally-sprints, the champion of the National Racing Series Lada Cup, the winner of monoclass Polo Cup and Formula Rusi races. He definitely doesn’t behave like a star, holds himself a bit self-conscious — one can tell he isn’t used to give interviews. However, it’s all right, regarding he got eighteen just a month ago. It is the title of the Lada Cup champion that became Vitaly’s present to himself for his own majority...
Perhaps he is lucky. His father, Alexander Petrovich Petrov runs a large business in Vyborg. An ex-town hall deputy, currently patronizing a large sportsclub, he’s given his son all the possibilities for self-realization. There were possibilities to buy and upgrade cars, professionals were invited to coach… As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for Vitaly, who took part in racing competitions, hardly could rally-sprints or winter circuit racing be revived in Vyborg.
So, one may ask if it’s all about the money? Not quite, actually. What is the use of “possibilities” if the capabilities can’t meet them? Those, who have traced Vitaly’s sporting career know, that one could never hear whispers behind his back about victories that were bought for the boy. When a fifteen year old kid went to the racing track and “tore to pieces” his way more aged and experienced rivals, one could clearly see – Vitaly’s a true talent.

Vitaly, how did you come up with the idea of going for motorsport?
Father started to “coach” me when I was five, not for sporting reasons, though – just to teach me how to drive a car. Later on as I grew much older, we invited a professional coach to develop the skills and not to be caught unaware in difficult situations. One trainer changed for another: after Maxim Kuryshkin I worked with Sergey Vasiliev and at the moment - with Jury Nichiporuk. As for sports… I’ve already gone for sports though totally different kinds – judo, boxing, football… It was plain and simple with motorsport. When the elders noticed I’m not bad at driving, an idea appeared: why not build up a racing car? Soon the “LadaCupmodificated” VAZ-21083-37 appeared. At first I was driving for fun but later on I got hungry for victories.

Why, during the latest season, have you turned such a close eye to circuit racing?
I’m not restricting myself with circuits! I can still partake a (rally)sprint and now my age allows me to join rally competitions. There is no particular addiction to a certain discipline – everything is interesting for me. As a matter of fact, I began with dirt road sprints and wanted to go for rally but I was too impatient to wait until I became eighteen years old. So, it appears that circuit racing filled the time. I shall now try myself in rally.

Did the thought about becoming a professional driver occur to you?
Not only did it occur but little by little began to take shape. It’s quite shameful to drive being sponsored by my father, which means it’s time to think of a professional driving career. There is one thing I’ve decided for certain: I shall no longer take part in LadaCup racing. After I’ve tried the Polo Cup and Formula Rusi cars I want to make a step further – to faster and more powerful cars.

Speaking of Lada... In the middle of the season, when you missed the Togliatti round in the championship, rumors appeared that you were threatened and that your disease was just “an official excuse” and you didn’t drive to avoid possible trouble...
What a folly! One of my main rivals, Michail Iliakov, threatened me after the past race and many people heard that. As for me, I took it for plain emotional overreaction although his words sounded insulting and we haven’t exchanged a single word eve since. I couldn’t go racing in Togliatti for health reasons. I’m not the easily-scared type and, luckily, for specially difficult situations there’s my father’s personal security service.

Let’s get back to racing issues. This year you’ve made fantastic car switches: from super-tuned “vosmerka’s” designed for winter racing to an almost standard “ladacupmodification”, from rear-driven Formula Rusi to front-driven VW Polo. How did you manage to grasp principles of driving cars that differ so much?
The funny thing is that my coach, Jury Nichiporuk has never driven a “formula” car and spent years driving “classical” VAZ cars. It was him who taught and explained to me the principles of driving a rear-driven car – the way to enter the corners and all the other things. I had to be a fast learner – we walked the circuits together discussing and talking over every meter. It seems that not even the type of the car is important (front- or rear-driven) but the way you’ve understood this exact circuit and felt this exact car.

Have you already worked out some of your personal “tricks” that haven’t been taught to you by your coach and that come from your experience?
It seems I have none yet but Jury says all of it comes with time. At the moment I’m listening carefully to his recommendations, try to understand, feel and experience what I’m told… Naturally, I adapt the things a bit for myself, for my convenience. I also don’t spend much time on set-up work – I believe I don’t yet have enough technical knowledge – I want to study this area closer. This means I trust my coach in these aspects too.

All right – let’s suggest one can literally explain how to corner. And what to do if you’re surrounded by a whole bunch of cars? It is known Lada Cup races are like an avalanche on the track, and both Formula Rusi and Polo races also don’t lack contact fight.
For this kind of small particularities I’m also grateful to my coach. He’s got the track racing experience left from the times when 5-6 cars raced on “bald” tyres on short tracks – there was enough contact fight there all right. By the way, we were supposed to meet “face to face” on a track today but unfortunately, his car let him down. We never managed to get to a real racing “fight”, sadly it’s always my or his car that goes out of order…

If you managed to adapt so easily to a change from front- to rear-driven cars, you may also have some experience on a full-driven car?
No full-driven car experience so far, except for some amateur drives. But it’s not at all racing. If If I choose rally after all I shall definitely try myself on that kind of cars (full-driven).

You have become, without any doubt the revelation of the past season. Have your victories led to some new prospects?
New offers appeared even from large and serious teams. I’m being invited for testing. Lukoil offered to partake the national or even the European Formula-3 series. However here we have some apprehensions. It is clear no team shall at once offer you leading positions, one shall be able to start as a third driver. This is not what I’m used to, although, it is possible I’ll have to. Previously the team worked for me and it shan’t be like this out there. Pity if the potential shall remain unrevealed…
Unexpectedly we got an offer from AvtoVAZ – to partake rally tests on their Super-1600 class prototype. The’re going to participate in junior world championship next year. I’ an absolute amateur in rally so far but I may use the time spent for upgrading the car to get the necessary experience. We’ve also been invited to Moscow to Vorobiovy Gory — foreign sponsors wanted to pick out two drivers to be their team in touring races for the next season. For that reason they invited to the Polo race me, Labazov and Karetnikov. It is only that this race never occurred.

Your career take-off was bright and fast. Do you have some events, victories of the past season that became especially memorable?
I\d rather name a Formula Rusi race. Naturally, the brightest impression is the Lada Cup Champion title. And, in general, there was that race: it was two years ago in Novgorod. There in a sprint we managed to fight my coach Nichiporuk. And I won that race with a hundred’s second time gap!

You’re a student but couldn’t even at once recall your university’s full name. Is your education important to you?
If everything goes well with sport it shall remain in the foreground, so my studies are at the moment on background. My parents, naturally, stick to the opposite opinion. To tell you the truth I don’t even think of what I shall do when my sporting career shall come to an end.

You got lucky – your financial background met your wishes. Do you think that motorsport in our country lacks new stars just because of the financial problems of our rookies?
Most probably yes – because of lack of money, which gives you the opportunity and freedom to try different things. Who knows, if it wasn’t for that, how many of our drivers could perform impressively? And the general level of motorsport could be no worse than in the West…

Do you already feel the “starrish” pressing?
Not really at the moment. As I decided to make racing my profession, I understand that all this attention and the buzz all around is a part of the job. Allthough I was shy at first and even tried to hide away from the tv-cameras. I was even more self-conscious than in everyday life. But to tell you the truth my further racing career plans bother me a lot more than the attention that is paid to myself.

Well, and, finally, a small blitz on the season results. Which tracks did you like the most?
Nevskoe Koltso among the closed circuits – definitely. Roller an Toksovo – among sprint tracks.

And among racing classes?
All of them are nice but I’d specially point out Formula Rusi and Volkswagen Polo. Rusi is all about speed, open cabin (cockpit), rear-drive. Роlо is good but but I want more speed and power!

What did you drive in your “civil” life when you got your driver’s license?
A fourth generation VW Golf.

What car are you dreaming of?
Porsche.

What music do you like?
No specialities.

What kind of drinks do you prefer?
Cola. Haven’t yet the taste for alcohol beverages.


Our interview came to an end. Vitaly bid us a farewell (with quite a relief – he isn’t yet used to interviews), took the cup he won just an hour ago from the table and returned to his team. Well, it seems he’ s here for a really impressive career to build. It turns out he gets all his victories on sheer instincts, innate talent and his careful listening to his trainers’ words. What will be when he gets enough experience of his own in understanding the technical details and set-up work that he lacks now?
Here’s what I thought: those youngsters who come into this sport take the first shot – the right to become the first professionals in the new era. Not the “prophies” of the old “dosa-af” school and not the “business-class” who’ve chosen motorsport for their hobby. They’re youngsters who, from the very first step, follow the way is used in the world. And this new way is supposed to return the audience back, to make people come and watch races, to make them (the races) broadcasted on the tv-box, to make racing become interesting for sponsorship and investment, what shall become a true possibility for those young sportsmen who have talent but lack money.

©Автоспорт 2002 №12
Get well soon, Robert!!!
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#3 Пользователь офлайн   bringing_luck 

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Отправлено 28 Сентябрь 2011 - 19:39

In 2003 Vitaly accepted the invitation from an Italian team “Euronova Racing” to take part in Formula-Renault racing series competition. There he took the nineteenth place. The results of the winter series were more impressive – Vitaly ended up fourth. In the Euro Formula-3000, that took place in the same year, the Russian driver only managed to “open” the third dozen.
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Vitaly with his first coach.
Get well soon, Robert!!!
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#4 Пользователь офлайн   bringing_luck 

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Отправлено 28 Сентябрь 2011 - 19:50

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What do we know of him?..


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Do you want to know more? (с)



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Our hero! He might not even remember this picture..))

And the champagne is obviously "Sovetskoe" (definitely not the “Mumm” brand)))
Get well soon, Robert!!!
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#5 Пользователь офлайн   bringing_luck 

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Отправлено 28 Сентябрь 2011 - 20:01

There he is, at the right, with a cracked” eye”.
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The nineteen year-old sportsman of Vyborg, the 2002 Lada Cup champion made a pause in his European performance. In the middle of June he will partake a LADA Revolution race and shall come back to his EURO 300 and Euroseries Formula 3 races. With an invitation from Avtovaz Vitaly will fight for the title in the Elex Polius team.

The young sportsman strives only at victory:

Цитата

I’m proud that Avtovaz remembers my successful performance and invited me to take part in this exciting fight for the title of Russia’s Champion. Serious competition is expected, I have sophisticated and single-minded rivals but I will try to prove my skill and will for fight and victories.


Aleksander Tiurumin, Formula 1600 Russia’s champion (of season 2003) will become Vitaly’s teammate. The next round of the National Racing Automobile Series LADA will take place at the “Nevskoe Koltso” track in St. Petersburg on the 16th-17th of June. 9 cars will occupy the starting grid.
Get well soon, Robert!!!
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#6 Пользователь офлайн   Zorrinho 

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Отправлено 02 Октябрь 2011 - 00:37

Thanks for the little footage! Highly appreciated! :respect: ;)
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#7 Пользователь офлайн   bringing_luck 

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Отправлено 02 Октябрь 2011 - 11:54

Просмотр сообщенияZorrinho (02 Октябрь 2011 - 00:37) писал:

Thanks for the little footage! Highly appreciated! :respect: ;)

Thank you. :)
There's more to come, it's just that I don't always have the time to translate the material, so things might go a bit slow :cb2:
Get well soon, Robert!!!
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#8 Пользователь офлайн   bringing_luck 

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Отправлено 02 Октябрь 2011 - 12:45

I continue with another piece of the "Vitaly's career" puzzle :)


Year 2004.

LADA REVOLUTION Cup. The season of year 2004.

In 2004 a new motorsport competition series began – a seven-round LADA National Racing Series.

Within the National Racing Series LADA a championship in the following racing classes will take place: “Lada Revolution”, “Formula Lada” (“Formula-1600”). Beside that a «LADA Cup» series will be represented.

The national racing series LADA of year 2004 (earlier announced as the National racing series AvtoVAZ) will consist of seven rounds and will take place on Moscow, Moscow Region and St. Petersburg tracks. The alteration in the series name is due to the change in this year’s marketing policy of the AvtoVAZ company.

In the first round Vitaly won the qualification but lost the race.
In the second round he ended up with a podium as he finished the race third. А это кадры уже с

Vitaly’s victories in the fourth round...

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Vitaly with Cyrill.

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Some more shots from the first round of the year 2004 season.

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By the way, Vitaly lost this season to Cyrill Ladygin, however, in 2005… ;)

Цитата

On the 8th of December in Moscow in the concert hall of the «Kristall» entertainment club an official award ceremony for the winners and prizewinners of the Russian Championships and all—Russian Cup (that together form the National Racing Series (NRS) LADA and RTCC) of the year 2004 season was held.

The winners and prizewinners were awarded with NRS LADA cups and Russian Automobile Federation (RAF) diplomas. Championships and All-Russian Cup prizewinners were awarded with medals by the Federal Agency for Physical culture and Sport.

The champion and the prizewinners of the Russian Championship in the “LADA Revolution” class were handed cheques for receiving the prize-fund, which was initiated the general sponsor of this Series – the “AVTOVAZ” company. In particular, Cyrill Ladygin was given a 1 million rubles cheque for his Championship. Vitaly, for getting the overall 2nd result, was given a 400 thousand rubles cheque and Vitaly Dudin, for his third place in the Championship general classification received a 100 thousand rubles cheque.

The awards were given out by:
Russian Automobile Federation (RAF) vice-president Yermilin I.V.
The head of the “LADA Revolution” project Nezvankin V.M.
The chief engineer of the “AVTOVAZ” company Guba V.I.
The chief organizator of the Russian Championships in “Touring” and “Touring Light” racing classes Krylov S.N.

A specially designed laser-show opened the ceremony.
The ceremony ended with a concert, performed by the “Mashina Vremeni” band.


Shots from the event... :D
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Nice looking anchorwoman... (for those who don’t know – it is Oksana Kossatcenko, Vitaly’s manager) ;)
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Get well soon, Robert!!!
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#9 Пользователь офлайн   bringing_luck 

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Отправлено 02 Октябрь 2011 - 17:00

Vitaly Petrov took part both in Formula Renault and Formula 3000 racing competitions at the time he raced in Europe. Sometimes he performed brilliantly but mostly the Russian got left behind by his rivals in the two-liter Formula Renault. In a year and a half the young driver got to know the European circuits, got a good experience of wheel-to-wheel fighting – that was all, though. It became as clear as daylight that the project “Conquering Europe” needs a new breath.

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Get well soon, Robert!!!
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#10 Пользователь офлайн   bringing_luck 

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Отправлено 02 Октябрь 2011 - 22:09

Year 2005.

NRS LADA. Round 1: the battle of the champions

On the 14th of May in Moscow, on the “Myachkovo – the Moscow ring” circuit took place the first round of NRS LADA 2005. This seven-round competition first took start under the guidance of AVTOVAZ in 2004. This year the second season took flight with a greater number of both drivers and spectators, being the actual illustration to the “LADA. Keep on moving” slogan.

All-Russian Championship in the “LADA Revolution” racing class.
One of the most spectacular moments of the first round became the sportprototype class races. 10 drivers joined the starting grid. In 2005 the Championship in this class got some changes: within one round two races were held, with points given for finishing results of each of the two.
On Friday at the time of qualification runs heavy rain covered the “Myachkovo – the Moscow ring” circuit. In these difficult weather conditions the quail was won by a “LADA Revolution” debutant, a nineteen year-old Yegor Yefrosinin ( the «Wellrun Forza Sport» team).
At the start of the first race Vitaly Petrov («Maxmotor Ulyanovsk (a city in Russia)») and Vitaly Dudin («LADA kredit») jumped the start, for what they got punished with a «stop-and-go» during the race. After Petrov off to the pit-lane for executing his punishment, the race was headed by a debutant in this class, a two-time Russia champion in the “Touring” class and a seven-time Russia carting champion Grigoriy Komarov ( individual trial for competition). His constant rival over the past decade, Russian carting champion and a “LADA Revolution” class champion Cyrill Ladygin ended the race in second place. On the final lap Alexander Tiuriumin(«AMK FSO Rossii» team), who held the third position, was forced to surrender his position to Vitaly Petrov and that helped him finish the race in the third place.
During the second race of the round, Vitaly Petrov, who already got nicknamed by the media journalists as the “Vyborg Rocket”, timed several laps, headed the race and finished it in the first place.
A Kursk-born Merited master of Sports Grigory Komarov finished in the second place and became the leader in the “LADA Revolution” class Championship of Russia. The qualification winner Yegor Yefrosinin finished the race in the third place.

In general, after the two-races first round in the “LADA Revolution” racing class are as follows:
1. Grigoriy Komarov
2. Vitaly Petrov
3. Cyrill Ladygin

Цитата

A «Maxmotor Ulyanovsk» team driver Vitaly Petrov heads to the third round of the 2005 “LADA Revolution” racing class Russian championship as a leader, with a significant point gap between him and the nearest competitor. The third round will take place at ADM Myachkovo. His nearest rival, Cyrill Ladygin, lacks 12 points to the Vyborg-born sportsman. Petrov almost killed the intrigue of this year in the most rich for sensations and top-names racing class. The twenty year-old Vyborg-born driver, during the first two rounds managed to scare the hell out out of the two-times Russian Touring champion Grigory Komarov, the eight-time Russian carting champion Cyrill Ladygin, Formula-1600 Russian Champion Aleksander Tiuriumin, the highly experienced Vitaly Dudin, the young and talented Timur Sadretdinov.
Due to his own mistake Petrov couldn’t win the first race of the season in Myachkovo – Vitaly jumped the start and fought through the peleton to a third finishing position. Then followed a victorious series of three races Потом: Petrov, the Vyborg Rocket won the second race in Myachkovo, both races in St. Petersburg and a demonstrative race on the Vorobievy Gory in Moscow.

V.Petrov: “At the time being things go way too smooth – I won series of four races but that is only the visible aspect of that tremendous job we perform in the team before the races. I’m not going to calm down by any means – the threat to my results may be evident – just take a look at my sporting rivals’ list”.

O.Kossatchenko, the driver’s manager: “I think it’s obvious that Vitaly drew conclusions out of the 2004 season results. The driver is now way more focused and attentive. His driving style also changed – the spectators can now see a tranquil and steady-minded racer who can adequately judge of his rivals and can immediately react to any change in the racing situation. I’m really glad Vitaly found “his own” team – we feel at home in the “Maxmotor” team”.


P.S. (a note from our user Oстровитянин) I couldn’t but insert this article… It happened so that I and Cyrill ladygin had an eye-to-eye acquaintance from the times he raced for the Pilt Master Kart team of Sakhalin. The year was 2004 and I found about Vitaly from his words and then they had wheel-to-wheel track battles. Funny how things turn out…:)
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Well and where would we go without Oksana Pavlovna and Vinchenzo Sospiri… ;)
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One more amusing fact for that year… Vitaly took part in a six-hours long carting maraphone, organized by the “Avtomotosport” magazine. The races took place on the “Silver Rain” track. Vitaly’s teammate there was Vadim Klementiev.

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The naughty one... :D Hope Mikhail Aleshin took no offence.
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Get well soon, Robert!!!
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