Discussing the long race in Sochi with Alexey Karachev

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Discussing the long race in Sochi with Alexey Karachev

Last weekend in Sochi we competed in a long race in the Russian Cup, where our pilots demonstrated real skill behind the wheel of ArtTech Evolution cars. Crew number 31 - Alexey Khairov, Alexey Karachev took 2nd place in qualifying group “F”. After the successful completion of a long race, we were able to talk with one of them, namely Alexey Karachev (AK) - a famous and titled racer, founder and head coach of the Academy of Driving Skills (Karachev-Racing.ru).

How do you rate your performance overall? What are your impressions of the competition?

AK: I rate our performance very highly. Thanks to the Artline team for the invitation to participate in the Russian Endurance Cup in a car of our own design. I would also like to thank my partner Alexey Khairov. We have a great crew. We worked together very quickly, helped each other in everything, complete mutual assistance, exchange of experience. Everything was about the result - to work together and achieve the maximum from the circumstances in which we were.

The impressions from the competitions themselves are mixed. For some reason, spectators were not allowed into the stands, but we had a very large support group. They had to watch the race either from bridges crossing the track or from the paddock on a screen. I would like the organizers to make adjustments in the future and allow fans into the stands. Also, there was a strange moment with the award ceremony. We took second place in group “F”, but for some reason we were not awarded. And so, in general, everything was great and interesting. I met a lot of my friends, acquaintances, pilots, which I was very happy about. The impressions are the most wonderful.

Long races - how much more difficult are they than sprint races or maybe easier for you?

AK: I have competed in both sprint and long endurance races, and I can say that I like both. Different types of races have their own characteristics. Sprint races are more intense in terms of struggle, but you act alone. I like long races because of the atmosphere and the fact that it is teamwork. For example, in 2019, when I won the race in America (Lamborghini Super Trofeo), there were five drivers per car. This time there were of course two of us, but I really enjoyed it. Teamwork adds to the charm of racing, it's very cool.

What can you say about the car? What are your impressions and emotions from management?

AK: I really liked the car for its handling. It is fast, very light, with good aerodynamics. Of course, there were some technical problems that we solved during training on Friday and during Qualifying. But at the race itself, during the warm-up lap, everything worked as it should, and I managed to beat all the main competitors already on the first lap of the race. I would like to improve the car further, but, unfortunately, we simply did not have enough time for this. After the race, there is an understanding of where to move in the technical aspect. The team and I, when I return to Moscow, will discuss all this and outline further steps to improve the car.

Were there any difficulties in car control? If yes, which ones?

AK: At some point we abandoned the front flaps because we wanted to increase straight line speed, but because of this we lost downforce on the front axle. Accordingly, in the long arc in Turn 3, around the Olympic torch, we could not drive at full throttle the way we did in training. We had to slow down, otherwise the car would slide its front wheels off the trajectory to the outer radius. Of course, this made the time a little worse, but we gained in straight line speed.

What interesting places were there on the track in Sochi, and what maximum speed were you able to achieve on the ArtTech Evolution?

AK: The track in Sochi is one of my favorites. I have won both Formula 1 support races and Russian Cup races here many times. Therefore, there were no discoveries for me, I just got great pleasure from a racing car on a wonderful track. The maximum speed depended on the wind. When it was tailwinding or I used the air bag from a faster car in front, I was able to reach a speed of 210 km/h.

How was it for you to perform on the Artline team?

AK: The team, as always, has a pleasant and homely atmosphere. The guys are all professionals and know their stuff. Engineers, mechanics - everyone worked as they should. Some of the employees with whom I worked back in 2010 at the Formula 3 Championship in Germany, when I became vice-champion, are still on the team. I was pleased to meet and work with everyone I haven’t seen for a long time and with new guys, new team members. I want to say thank you to everyone: the team, organizers, spectators and our support group. To everyone who was with us, who watched on TV, via the Internet - thank you all very much for your support. I always feel this and it helps me a lot. I was very happy to be back racing again.

Alexey now spends a lot of time on racing tracks, but as a coach or playing coach for a new generation of athletes. We spoke with him just before his flight to Germany, where he will train students on Formula 3 cars.

We congratulate Alexey on his excellent performance at the 1st stage of the Russian Cup (SMP RSKG Endurance). Thank you for your interesting answers and kind words, we wish you success in future races and great achievements in your coaching career.

Until new racing meetings!