Lukoil team members refused entry to Brazil ahead of Curitiba WTCC round
|By Peter Mills||Saturday, July 21st 2012, 14:35 GMT|
The Lukoil SEAT World Touring Car Championship team endured a disrupted start to its Curitiba weekend after several team members were refused entry to Brazil at Sao Paulo airport.
The customs mishap resulted in the team being understaffed during Friday's half hour test, but several mechanics and engineers have arrived at the Curitiba International circuit on Saturday after a determined and epic attempt to gain entry to the country.
"Yesterday we only had two engineers at the track," explained Lukoil driver Aleksei Dudukalo. "Some of our engineers and mechanics, who are Spanish nationals, were refused entry and sent back to Spain. It was a disaster!"
"My engineer took 66 hours took to get here," continued Dudukalo. "They used a flight from Barcelona to Frankfurt, then Frankfurt to Buenos Aires and crossed the border from Argentina to Brazil by car. They then had to get a flight from somewhere in Brazil to Curitiba."
Despite the setback, both Lukoil cars occupied the top 10 during Saturday's first free practice session and Dudukalo was optimistic the worst of the problems were now behind them.
"Yesterday we only had two engineers and a chief mechanic, so it affected the team in quite a big way. Five mechanics didn't come and my usual engineer also didn't come. But today it was better. I think Gabriele [Tarquini] was quite competitive, up in fourth, this morning. I hope we can have a good weekend."