Three days in the roar of engines: Kazan hosts Russian Circuit Racing Series super stage

Last weekend, the Kazan Ring Canyon circuit turned into the centre of the Russian motorsport world

Three days in the roar of engines: Kazan hosts Russian Circuit Racing Series super stage
Photo: Динар Фатыхов

Almost a hundred pilots, six classes of cars, and the cherry on the cake — after a two-day battle for the right to be called the best on the stage, a three-hour marathon of the Russian Cup of endurance racing SMP RSKG Endurance. The Tatarstan land has not yet hosted such a festival of speed. About how the 4th stage of the Russian Circuit Racing Series went — in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Long before

The 2024 season in the Russian Circuit Racing Series (RCRS) started back in April at the Fortress Groznaya circuit in the Chechen Republic. Then, in early May, there was the Smolensk Ring, on the border of spring and summer — the Nizhny Novgorod Ring, and so, at the end of June, the fourth stage of the series started in Kazan.

Since Friday morning, there were practically no empty seats in the stands of the observation deck. Динар Фатыхов /

It is clear that the pilots, along with technical support groups, had arrived on Tatarstan land long before the launches. Trying not the easiest site in the country, with unique height differences, is useful even for those who have been here more than once. Say nothing of beginners. And they were there, too.

Kazan highway is far from the easiest in the country. . Динар Фатыхов /

Fans gathered in the stands on Friday morning. At exactly 10.00 a.m., the circuit opened to the audience, and at 10.40 a.m., the sports prototypes were the first to enter the battle.

Passions run high

Many people remember the tough start in the SMT GT4 Russia 2023 international competition. Then two Mercedes and Toyota were unable to share the starting straight. There have been no such tough contacts this year, but there have been enough worries both on the track and in the stands. There were crashes into the safety lane, and offensive breakdowns, and the loss of the body kit.

This year, there were annoying going offs a circuit, and harsh touches. Динар Фатыхов /

“To be honest, the best picture of the race is, of course, on TV. Wonderful commentators, filming, Match TV does it all insanely beautifully, but... the most important thing is missing: this smell of rubber and gasoline. And the atmosphere. That's why I'm here. We'll watch it live. Let's go up to the roof platform," Timur Shigabutdinov, the president of TAIFMOTORSPORT club, master of sports of international class, shared in an interview with Realnoe Vremya.

Timur Shigabutdinov: “When watching races on TV, the most important thing is missing: this smell of rubber and gasoline. And the atmosphere.”. Динар Фатыхов /

It is clear that he was going to root first of all for his teammates, pilots Dmitry Bragin (six-time champion of Russia) and Mikhail Simonov.

Simonov, at the age of 22, has 15 years of racing under his belt. In 2017, he won silver at the Russian Karting Championship, and for three years in a row — from 2018 to 2020 inclusive — he held the Russian Ice Racing Cup in his hands. In 2021, he had to settle for the bronze medal of the tournament. In 2019, he left no chance for his rivals in the Estonian Rallycross Championship. He also won silver in the Russian Rallycross Championship from 2018 to 2021 inclusive, and in 2022 he became the best in the Russian Ice Racing championship.

Mikhail Simonov became the new pilot of the team this season. Динар Фатыхов /

I've joined the SMP TCR Russia class of TAIFMOTORSPORT club as a pilot only this year, but I have already gained a lot of fans. During the break in the races, when the audience was given a walk along the pit lane, there was simply no end of those who wanted to get his autograph.

Mikhail Simonov: "200 cards are given during an autograph session.”. Динар Фатыхов /

“How many autographs do I sign? I didn't count it. But there are about 200 photos in the pack. By the end of the autograph session, there are none left," the pilot admitted with a smile.

“They've been watching Mikhail for a while”

“We have been watching Mikhail for a while. At the beginning of this season, we made a joint decision with him to play for us — in our team. Young, active, skilled, ambitious, of course. There is no fear, no stupor, but there is a great desire to show the result. Plus a very cold mind. Although young, but neat and prudent. But here, of course, it is the parting words and upbringing from Comrade Bragin (smiles). All this combined gives us good confidence that there will be a good result at the end of the season. Plus, this is a team update. On the one hand, we give our youth the opportunity to grow, on the other hand, young people bring results and winning places to the team," Timur Shigabutdinov said about the renewal of the team.

Timur Shigabutdinov: “The club has been looking at Mikhail for a long time.”. Динар Фатыхов /

The pilots themselves did not communicate with journalists before the start — not the best sign. Team director Farit Valeev also referred to his busyness.

Second start in SMP TCR Russia class turned out to be a little aggressive. Динар Фатыхов /

The second start in SMP TCR Russia class turned out to be a little aggressive. On the very first turn — a few touches. The car number 4 by Dmitry Bragin had it. By the fifth lap, many cars already had a little battered appearance: some had a wing fluttering in the wind, others had a piece of bumper missing, others squinted blindly with damaged lights. But this did not decrease the competitive spirit. An active struggle went on until the final wave of the flag.

Competition did not subside until the finish flag. The car was seriously damaged: at No. 12, the rivals “bit off” part of the rear body kit. Динар Фатыхов /

“The race was not easy. There is broken plastic everywhere on the track, fragments of headlights. The fight was intense," Pavel Kalmanovich admitted after the finish. Last year he played for TAIFMOTORSPORT. This year, he represents the Kazan Innostage — AG Team.

Step by step

This time, representatives of TAIFMOTORSPORT did not rise to the podium in their native land. But this is only the fourth stage out of eight. There are still a lot of starts and finishes ahead. The opportunity to pour champagne on rival friends will present itself, and more than once.

Farit Valeev: “Not quite the result we wanted… We will work on the mistakes.”. Динар Фатыхов /

As for the interim results, according to the results of the four stages in the SMP TCR Russia class, Mikhail Simonov (TAIFMOTORSPORT) confidently leads with 170 points, by 11 points ahead of his nearest rival, Vladimir Atoev from Moscow. Dmitry Bragin has 113 points so far and is the fifth in the personal standings. In the team competition, TAIFMOTORSPORT is still in the second position with 283 points, with a margin of 75 points from the team in third position, and only 18 points short of the leadership position.

Start of the next stage is already in mid-July. This time in Ramenskoye, near Moscow. Роман Хасаев /

“Not exactly the result we expected. Our head, Timur Albertovich, also pointed this out. We will work on the mistakes. There is time to prepare. Both pilots and mechanics. They also have a lot of work to do — the races were not easy. But with the support of our long-time partners, TAIF-NK JSC, the club is ready for any eventuality. A stock of spare parts and consumables has been prepared. We are preparing for the start of the fifth stage at the ADM Raceway, in Ramenskoye near Moscow," team director Farit Valeev shared his plans for the foreseeable future.

Well, on Tatarstan land, the end of the motorsport holiday was a three-hour endurance marathon of the Russian Cup.

Arseny Favstritsky

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