Team Russia has demonstrated impressive commitment to the inaugural FIA Motorsport Games by electing to compete in each of the six categories that will make up the the 1-3 November event.
Russian entrants will tackle the GT Cup, Touring Car Cup, Formula 4 Cup, Drifting Cup, Karting Slalom Cup and Digital Cup at Vallelunga Circuit near Rome, where they will form part on an international field chasing gold, silver and bronze medals.
Denis Bulatov and Rinat Salikhov will drive a Ferrari 488 GT3 in the GT Cup class. Silver-rated Bulatov and bronze-rated Salikhov finished fourth in last year’s FIA GT Nations Cup – the forerunner of the FIA Motorsport Games – and also compete together in the Blancpain GT Series.
"Our training process for the FIA Motorsport Games is in full swing," reported Bulatov. "My teammate Rinat Salikhov and I drove in the Italian GT Championship at Vallelunga where we got a good result and checked out the track. We have already worked on our setup and we're now waiting for the FIA Balance of Performance.
"We welcome all the GT contestants of the FIA Motorsport Games," he continued. "We know some of them and respect them. The GT grid also has some new drivers we have never met before. For sure, it will not be easy for us because the line-up is great. We are expecting a very interesting race.”
Russia's F4 Cup representative will be 16-year-old Pavel Bulantsev. The teenager first served notice of his talent in kart racing, finishing as a CIK-FIA European Championship runner-up in 2016. This year he has clinched the SMP-backed junior single-seater title in his homeland.
“After the final race of the season, I identified a couple of weaknesses," said Bulantsev. "Now me and my team, SMP Racing, are analysing my mistakes. I will be preparing intensely for the FIA Motorsport Games, training on a simulator, and I’ll definitely do my best for Russia and for my team!"
Klim Gavrilov will represent the country in the Touring Car Cup. The 19-year-old is currently a title contender in his domestic championship and has also made appearances in TCR Europe and the Italian series, where he has been a race-winner this season.
Russia is a world leader in drifting, with several of its top performers ranking among the best in the business. The nation's representative at the FIA Motorsport Games will be Ilia Fedorov, a four-time winner of the Russian Drift Series and a top-10 finisher at last year's FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup. The 33-year-old will tackle the event aboard a Nissan Silvia S14.
“Vallelunga is a new venue for me and this is exciting!" said Fedorov. "In terms of the contestants, it is a very interesting situation. We were teammates with Dmitry Nahula (Team Belarus) – we met at four stages of the Russian Drift Series. We had a great fight with Federico Sceriffo (Team Italy) for the Drifting Cup in Sochi in 2017. I won that and I want to do the same during the FIA Motorsport Games in Rome.”
The country's Digital Cup entrant will be Vasily Anufriev, who comes equipped with more than 10 years' experience of the discipline. Anufriev streams his races on YouTube and also makes training videos for digital motorsport rookies.
“The line-up in the Digital Cup has no surprises for me. I welcome the very strong online driver Mikail Hizel (Team Germany) – if he doesn’t make any mistakes, he will have a good chance to win. As for me, I promise to do my best. We are at approximately the same level as the pilots from Denmark, Thailand and Hong Kong, so the Digital Cup promises to be hot and I am incredibly happy about that.”
Finally, youngsters Olesya Vashchuk and Vladislav Bushuev will take part in the Karting Slalom Cup. Commenting on the line-up, Russian Automobile Federation (RAF) president Victor Kiryanov expressed his excitement about leading his nation to Rome next month.
“The FIA Motorsport Games is a very interesting project that I am sure will be a new tool for national sports development," said Kiryanov.
"It is my honour to be the Ambassador of the Russian national team. Our drivers have proven themselves in 2019 and I have great professional and personal respect for them. They are the face of our motorsport, our country.”
The full entry list for the FIA Motorsport Games is set to be revealed this week. Sporting Regulations are available at fia.com.