Victory as present for team TAIFMOTORSPORT’s jubilee
Pilot of TAIFMOTORSPORT Dmitry Bragin finished first in the 3rd G-DRIVE leg of the Touring Russian Circuit Racing Series by the club’s 20th jubilee
The Tatarstan race track KazanRing Canyon turned into the heart of the Russian car racing life for two days. The republic hosted the 3rd DRIV Drive leg of the Touring Russian Circuit Racing Series. The racing festival gathered more than 3,000 engine roar and high speed fans and the country’s 64 best pilots. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.
“It’s hard to believe but we really turned 20”
Realnoe Vremya’s journalist managed to talk with the manager of team TAIFMOTORSPORT long before the first competition of the 3rd leg. The manager always has a lot of work to do but found a few minutes to talk with the press.
“It’s hard to believe but we really turned 20. And 20 years in sport is a lot. A lot has been done, experienced. To be honest, our jubilee isn’t right now. The birthday of TAIFMOTORSPORT — when the club and team were created — is in March, but the jubilee is such an issue that it can be celebrated throughout the year and we decided to make our fans happy and dedicate our celebration to the competition and celebrate it at the venue of the Russian championship,” admitted Farit Valeyev.
On the occasion of the celebration, crew members and friends of the club set up an entire fan zone for guests of the speed festival. The site adorned by symbols of the team and sponsors’ logos (the club has been actively supported by Russia’s most innovative oil refinery TAIF-NK JSC, by the way, the company celebrated its 25th jubilee exactly during the speed festival and celebration of TAIFMOTORSPORT’s 20th anniversary, and since this year, another innovative of TAIF Group — TAIF-SM — joined the team of the club’s sponsors) drew the attention from afar and wasn’t empty from the very beginning when guests just started to come.
“The age and who our guests root for doesn’t matter. We are happy to see everybody on our site. The club is 20. It is a jubilee! And we invite everybody to come and share our joy! Here we have several sites but they are all linked with the speed: there are car races, robot ball races, Sony-PS, different instant photo zones. We also transmit everything happening on the track,” Dmitry Kolesnikov welcomed the guests. His voice heard in the loudspeaker was impossible to miss and the enthusiasm was so contagious that people changed their minds and turned out on this site.
Car racing was especially popular, though it was tough to win a victory: one had to push the pedals, slow down at turns and press the pedals on smooth segments to go through a small but almost real car circuit, not to end up in a car accident and finish first. by the way, representatives of the team’s sponsors handed out the prizes to competitors and winners of numerous contests and competitions taking place in the fan zone. Caps, T-shirts, merchandise for fans of upcoming runs were like hot cakes.
The journalist of Realnoe Vremya spotted President of the club Timur Shigabutdinov — a world-class athlete who defended the honour of the club in car racing just a few years ago — in the photo zone. He immediately agreed to give me an interview:
“The club is 20. All this has passed by as if it was just one year. You look back, remember both good and not really good things… How many races, how many countries, how many victories, how many imperfections… Indeed, there have been many things. It is 20 years. I want to wish my favourite team on his jubilee day to be able to celebrate not only the first 20 years but also both the second and third 20 years, I hope we all stay healthy, everything is fine and, of course, good luck on the track,” he congratulated his team mates.
As for the participation in races, as Timur Shigabutdinov stressed, ex-athletes don’t exist and the desire for the speed is still here:
“No, I don’t compete in circuit racing anymore. The case is that the level of performance is so high today that one has to be a pro pilot, do only this. That’s to say, this turned into a real job. The lads are repeated champions, and one cannot compete with simply coming and driving a car. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to train regularly. This is why now I look at circuit racing from the stands, for pleasure, like a hobby I participate in rally rides at the Russian Championship and the Russian Cup.”
Meanwhile at the backstage
Mechanics were those who certainly couldn’t rest at the festival. The hours before the competition probably seemed minutes to them. They had to check and recheck everything that could be checked, to fasten, twist, replace, weld something… It is hundreds of habitual affairs and tasks.
“Mechanics are always forgotten but they are those people who forge victories. Everything depends on them. They don’t sleep at night, work to make sure the cars operate smoothly. Results can be achieved thanks to this. Perhaps, somebody sees them at the start line, but as a rule, only their backs. On behalf of the team, myself, many thanks to them,” Farit Valeyev stressed noticing the attention of journalists to the performance of the club’s technical component.
Two cars in TAIFMOTORSPORT colours were placed deliberately for team fans near the fan zone. Indeed, these are the combat machines that won medals during previous seasons. But one can’t cheat an army of fans, they were pulled to the box like a magnet where cars of the current season were preparing for the competition.
The team already got used to such attention and continued doing their job without distraction.
Tensions on the track
Some spectators went upstairs to the stands by the first run. And they were right. Engines started to roar at the SMT GT4 Russia competition at 11 sharp that immediately were replaced by the strident sound of brakes. Two Mercedes and Toyota didn’t manage to share the starting line.
The car No. 77 skid, it hit the car No. 10 that gave a butt to the car No. 47 bounced off the fence and jumped into the air and stopped on the safety line losing its wheels.
The race resumed only after the damaged cars were evacuated from the area.
The guests didn’t manage to recover after the first competition, Touring Light, S1600 representatives appeared on the track. Tensions were running high here too, there was enough brake squeak and shouting fans.
After such worries, both pilots and guests of the festival need some break. Organisers of the festival foresaw this and offered a pit line walk for spectators: the territory that is usually closed for visitors because powerful cars come to the track right from here. By the way, the cars themselves turned out to be available for everybody. Of course, nobody was allowed to enter the race cars but they could take as many photos as they wanted.
Everybody took advantage of the occasion — both the little ones and adults. The TAIFMOTORSPORT cars also had an improvised queue: two or three photos, next!
From withdrawal to victory
The SMP TCR Russia run was one of the most expected. Dmitry Bragin, No. 4, is a five-time Russian champion in Touring, he won a gold twice in TAIFMOTORSPORT team event in 2019 and 2022. The team is also in the lead after the first two legs: Bragin is first individually, his team mate Pavel Kalmanovich competing as No. 17 is third, and the team is respectively first.
But luck in sport isn’t constant. Kalmanovich’s car that started from the pole position. The car anyway was on the track, but time was lost. As a result, he finished 7th.
Dmitry Bragin that started 10th quickly outran several rivals but stumbled over Andrey Maslennikov and then crossed the grass, collected plants with his radiator and had an overheated car. As a result, he had to leave the race and look at his opponents from the side line.
Bragin took his revenge on day two. He started from a reverse pole, won positions technically heat after heat and left everybody with dust closer to the finishing line.
“For all of us and for me personally it is both important and significant win on the home track on our team’s jubilee year. A lot of guests have gathered here, our director Timur Shigabutdinov is here with us on two days, he is cheering for us. I am glad to make such a present to the club, the staff, all the fans who came today to support us and watch car racing. I dedicate the victory to President of our club Timru Shigabutdinov and the 20th jubilee of our TAIFMOTORSPORT. We will go ahead, to new victories,” the pilot shared immediately after the award ceremony.
Pavel Kalmanovich repeated his previous result on day two too by finishing seventh. The reason is the same situation that happened to Dmitry Bragin a day earlier. But he added his points to the team table.
“I finished seventh. The race is tough, it is a good competition, then the rival drove me to the grass. I got grass in the radiator, had to get it cleaned because the car started to overheat. But then I managed to outrun several rivals. I wish the team victories, more cars and many years to come,” he joined the congratulations.
What unites us
TAIF Group in general has a special attitude to sport. It has supported football, hockey, basketball, swimming, martial arts throughout its history… One shouldn’t be surprised that motor sport, even with such a name, is paid attention. And it is quite logical that the companies that are close to this area support this sport: it is high-quality car fuel producers — TAIF-NK JSC — and producers of a wide range of lubricants, Russia’s unique polyalphaolefin oil manufacturer TAIF-SM (Taif Lubricants).
“It is impossible to participate in races and, moreover, win without sponsorship support. It is crucial,” Dmitry Bragin was even surprised with the question about the meaning of sponsorship in modern motor sport.
“The support of TAIF is felt, it is important, both from TAIF-NK and our new sponsor Taif Lubricants,” Pavel Kalmanovich backed his team mate.
“Of course, thanks to our sponsors, to our general sponsor TAIF-NK that fully supports us in all our undertakings, travels, etc. Racing is quite a pricey sport. But I think this cooperation yields fruit both for us and our sponsors. And Taif Lubricants is our new sponsor. Like TAIF-NK, the company is part of TAIF Group, works in cooperation with TAIF-NK and produces an assortment of oils for all types of engines. And motor sport and any machinery need quality oils and lubricants,” team manager Farit Valeyev noted in an interview with Realnoe Vremya.
By the way, Taif Lubricants worked on the site of the festival as a big and friendly team on both days. Every visitor remembers the merry boys and girls who were generous with TAIFMOTORSPORT, TAIF-NK and Taif Lubricants souvenirs.
“By the 20th jubilee of the club and team TAIFMOTORSPORT, I wish all of us successful and mutually beneficial partnership, prosperity and, of course, victories,” noted Commercial Director of TAIF-SM Dmitry Bugayov in a talk with the journalist.
“As an oil brand we are simply obliged to represent our colleagues from motor sport,” Director General of the company Alexey Osipov explained to the correspondent with a smile. And he added: “Our product for the engine is blood and energy. Our colleagues from team TAIFMOTORSPORT are tuned for victory only. This is why I wish new summits, firstly. Secondly, I wish keeping all the luggage of accumulated experience in their 20-year history. I think together — TAIFMOTORSPORT, TAIF-NK and Taif Lubricants — we will achieve more. This means let’s go to new victories!”
Realnoe Vremya is preparing a series of reports on the history of motor sport in Tatarstan, the role and place of TAIF and team TAIFMOTORSPORT in these processes. To be continued.
Ad of TAIF-NK JSC