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Russian racers Nikolai Fomenko and Alexei Vasilyev will appear in the next FIT GT season on a new team
Russian racers Nikolai Fomenko and Alexei Vasilyev, FIA Grand Touring champions for the N-GT class, will appear in the next FIT GT season on a new team, the Russian Time, which has taken part in the opening FIA GT official tests. The Russian Time is the FI GT's first-ever Russian-licensed Russian team - which means that, if its crew wins, the Russian flag will be hoisted after the race, says the team press service. The team got its license from the Russian Automotive Federation specially for FIA GT contests. Vasilyev and Fomenko have been taking part in international races for five years now. They will contest in the GT1 class this year-something they have never done before. The Russian crew will have a Ferrari 550 Maranello car. "To win the N-GT championship in a Porsche was our goal for last year. We made it! So we were invited to a stronger class. We'll be very quick to get used to a new car-that became clear a few minutes after we got into a Ferrari," says Alexei Vasilyev. The Russian Time's car will be painted red, white and blue-Russia's national colors. It also comes as an only GT1 team to bear an indication to its nation in its name. The crew will appear in eleven stages of this year's FIA GT races. The championship is opening, April 10, with a race in Monza, Italy's north. Crowning it will be an Asian series in Dubai and Bahrain, late in November. The championship will try new routes in Turkey and Bahrain. An F1 race will open the Istanbul route 27 days before the FIA GT. Partnering the Russian pilots this year will be France's Cristophe Bouchou, twice FIA GT champion, and 24-hour race winner in Spa, Dighton and Le Mans. The Russian crew has been admitted to the Le Mans 24 Hours-an official confirmation recently came. Fomenko and Vasilyev were the first Russians to race in the legendary marathon last year. This season, they will take part in five Le Mans Endurance Series races to make a total thousand kilometers in Spa, Monza, Silverstone, Nuerburgring and Istanbul. The Russians will also appear in the big Le Mans event, starting June 18. "It was Russians' cherished dream to have their national team on the GT. We made that dream true-and we are proud of it! We hope we'll be worthy of our country. We are not at all shy as we are shifting into a new class and to a new car. On the contrary, the change will show to our rivals and to race organizers just what progress we have made since we started competing in the championships, and how Russia has upgraded its car racing," says Nikolai Fomenko. Maseratis and Ferraris will certainly make principal competition in this year's GT1-the Maserati with its lightning speed, and Ferrari safe and lasting as no other. Though the Russians will only make a debut in their new class, they hope to contest for medals in every race. They have every reason for that hope, considering their performance in the tests. The Russian Time team will see a public introduction in Moscow, April 6.
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