What is the race?

The Journalists' Cup is a complete replica of the Christmas Race of Stars, inviting the best drivers from a wide variety of motorsport disciplines. Now for journalists - a minimum of training and seven identical Lada Vesta, specially built for this competition. The event took place in two days. The first is training (4 laps) and qualification (two attempts in 1 lap), the second is the race itself.


I will single out the journalists whom I know

Who participated?

Maxim Kadakov - editor-in-chief of Za Rulem Magazine, prize-winner of classic car racing MCGP, participated earlier on this track.

Vladimir Melnikov- the fastest car journalist in Russia (Auto Review), climbed to the podium in the Russian Cup in circuit races and rallies, and also participated in rally-raids. Started many times on this track.


Life didn't prepare me for this! Mikhail Gorbachev, author of books on sports driving, flies with me on the same flight. With the books of Mikhail, I began to get acquainted with the theory of driving a car. And now I will start against him on the same Lada Vesta Sport (170 hp 1.5 mm spike) on the most interesting ice track in Russia! First qualification, and then paired elimination heats

Yuri Uryukov - deputy. the editor-in-chief of, the winner of the stages of the Russian Rally Cup, was a prize-winner of the AvtoVAZ President's Cup on this track.

Denis Suvorov - Master of Sports, medalist of the Russian rallycross championship.


Since 1996, the best racers in their disciplines have competed in synchronized races in identical cars - changing on two parallel tracks takes place across the bridge on the track.

Gorbachev Mikhail - USSR champion, author of books on sports driving.

Evgeny Ruzheinikov is a two-time champion of the Russian drift series RDS, host of the Avto24 TV channel.

Mikhail Kuldyaev is a blogger, Click on Car channel, a regular winner of journalistic car competitions.

Vyacheslav Subbotin is the founder and sports director of the GAZ Raid Sport racing team, the host of the Ministry of Transport TV show on RenTV

Mikhail Kononchuk is a fast journalist, participant in rental kart marathons, previously worked at, now at

Artem Achkasov - blogger, author of the blog Artemspec (part of his photo here), winner of various blogging mini-competitions

Ice track at the Avtovaz training ground. What is she like?


Shock is the main thing that you feel from the ice track at the AvtoVAZ test site. Driving a racing Lada Vesta weighing 1110 kg is just as scary as driving a passenger one. It usually doesn't work that way, though. On the ice you ride on flat ice tracks of the lakes, but here there are constant jumps and falls, most of the turns are not visible.


How does a Lada Vesta, prepared for ice racing, drive?

Significantly better than my daily Honda Civic Si (2.0 160 hp). And it's not even about sports tires with a spike of 1.5 mm, but about the limited-slip differential and the tuning of the suspension and steering (I hope the Civic will still be better on the asphalt)))

Vesta reacts vividly to the steering wheel, and in sliding the front wheels almost never do not jump off the trajectory, if they slide, then mainly the rear ones. The main pair in the 5,4 cam gearbox - you have to work often and a lot with the lever, in the straight line also include fifth gear.


My Honda Civic Si also has an electric power steering installed on the West. When driving onto the ice, at the slightest pressure on the gas on the X-ice North 4 (250 studs), the front wheels slipped off the trajectory, you just had to vomit along the inside of the ice turns.

Even the standard Vesta rides well - I noted this in the tire test, when the usual Vesta slid in the snow as if it had four-wheel drive

Qualification and training

The most interesting thing that happened on the first day: out of 4 factory Lada racers (Mikhail Grachev, Mikhail Mityaev, Kirill Ladygin, Vladimir Sheshenin), the last two bite in earnest. After each race, Ladygin and Sheshenin emotionally exchanged remarks. We swapped cars, and then swapped tires between cars # 1 and # 2 - after all West equalizations, at the finish line their difference was only two tenths of a second. However, after several races of journalists it became no longer important: the overturn of car No. 2, broken drives and boxes of others.


During training on the first day, he showed the best time among invited journalists - 2: 43: 9. But at the qualification he lost everything, at first on one lap he consistently did not turn on the 3rd, 4th, and then also the 5th gear. And on the second attempt, he hung on the parapet - both attempts 2: 48. XX. Vladimir Melnikov was cooler and showed 2: 45.6.


From that moment on, I said to myself: no kipish! We must go quietly, but at the same time figure it out) It remains to wait for the pair races the next day and make sure that my attitude is correct. As a result of the trainings, the columns FP1 and FP2 are interesting, where the factory pilots were driving, and the journalists were sitting in the passenger. At the end of the day, among the factory Lada Sport drivers, Sheshenin had the best time (02: 42.7), Kirill Ladygin (02: 43.5) showed the second time, then Mikhail Grachev (02: 48.0), Mikhail Mityaev (02: 51.3).


Race The

race takes place in two stages. First, all 18 participants are divided into 6 groups of 3 people each. In the group, each journalist goes with everyone. Having qualified as the second, I got into the group with Kirill Larin (Avtoplus TV channel) and Artem Tolokonnikov (press officer of Lada Sport) - they took the 14th and 8th places in the quala, respectively. Good qualification allowed us to roll into the track again with moderately fast opponents.


Yevgeny Ruzheinikov's helmet stands like a prepared Zhiguli for Endurance

After two pilots leave the group, the real TOP-8 elimination begins, as in drift. The comparison is not accidental, because I get to the two-time champion of the Russian drift series RDS Evgeny Ruzheinikov. Evgeny probably spent his best race with me, however, under the throttle release, he began to skid with the steering wheel, and not with the gas, and did not have time - after all, the steering wheel, unlike his Nissan Silvia (~ 650 hp), does not spin here itself. Therefore, now I can safely say "I won Ruzheinikov already in the TOP-8"))


According to the factory riders, the inner track gives about 0.3 seconds of advantage when starting from a standstill due to the fact that the first turn is steeper, and it is not so to go from the place to it long away

Starting from the TOP-4, I asked the organizers to get Vladimir Sheshenin on the passenger plane again, yesterday he was the fastest among the factory ones, and we worked together very well. The winner of the Russian Cup in circuit racing made me look for the edge, showed me where to find speed.


Regular starts in amateur competitions on the rear wheel drive allowed to clean out the taxiing, which gets dirty on the front wheel drive. Constant twisting of the steering wheel and drift of the front wheels on the rear wheel drive will lead to a turn or skid, and on the front wheel drive they are not particularly felt, and only slightly slow down the car.

The race against Denis Suvorov, the winner of the Russian rallycross championship, I started from the inside track, as it was higher in qualification. Excellent start of the circle and… Vesta slows down. H-e-e-e! Smoke around. Motor explosion! A second later, Vesta Denis is driving along the next path. Now he is in the final, and I will only fight for 3-4 place. We leave upset with Sheshenin, and the judge of the service park announces: "Re-entry"!


It is not snow dust, but smoking oil on the exhaust manifold. The mechanics looked at the video for my mistake, but at that moment I was driving in one gear, and there was still a margin before the cutoff

That is why it is not a real race of Champions, but the Cup of Journalists for a miracle to happen. At a time when there was still no live broadcast of the race (pre-Vesto era), there were cases when Kalina was replaced in cases of breakdown and a re-run was scheduled. Now everything is strict, at the last 22 Christmas race of champions in the second final race, Yegor Sanin after jumping from a springboard fell off the wires on the gas pump and he also stopped on the track. Kirill Ladygin became the winner of the Christmas Race of Champions for the sixth time.


How to go fast with self-locking front wheel drive? At the entrance to the turn, by dropping the gas or braking the left leg (we brake the right only when downshifting), we provoke a skid of the rear axle. Now the most important thing is not to turn the steering wheel in the direction of a skid, there is an error in the photo. We direct the front wheels to the inner parapet (do not turn all the way to the stop, otherwise the Vesta will slow down). In the turn itself, you can slightly apply the brake with your left foot for a more effective turnover. The sooner you can put the steering wheel in a straight line position, the faster the lap time will be.

Again race against Denis and We are in the Final! Second finalist Vladimir Melnikov from Auto Review. The fastest journalist who is legendary. Immediately can go fast in the ring, rally and rally-raids.


Having driven cars # 3, # 4, # 5 and # 6, I did not feel any critical difference in control or lap times. But car number one was different. Even in the qualifying races, Vladimir Melnikov shared his driving impressions about her: “Pulls well at medium speeds, but not very high at high speeds, he almost buried himself at the start”.


Who knew that this particular car would be mine in the first final race against himself. I do as my rival said: 3000 rpm and a soft release of the clutch worked.

The first turns the car, due to the different characteristics of the engine, was not where I wanted, but then we flew. Incredibly, along the slow outer path we were 1.5 seconds faster than Vladimir Melnikov. In the second race, I show the best time of the day 2: 48.566, Vladimir was only 0.34 thousandths behind. Victory!


Thanks to at this event - a detailed article about the car and the technique of piloting on the Link.

PS Video in the process of editing will certainly be.


My channel on Youtube

The most operative photos in Instagram

Winter Endurance