With its home motor show in Paris just around the corner, I’ve been wondering why Renault chose this week's Moscow motor show to launch its new £282,000 RS 01 racing car.
After all, while Russia may be the second-largest car market in the European sales region behind Germany – and many say it will surpass it to become the largest by 2016 – there are still just 274 cars per 1000 people in the country according to Avtovaz boss Bo Andersson.
It's interesting to see global brands grabbing for space in the country's capital – car dealerships are huge and very plush – but Renault has already made significant in-roads into Russia's vast and potentially lucrative market with its World Series by Renault package of racing championships.
The series staged the first international track event of its kind to take place at Moscow Raceway in 2012, and the event attracted more than 78,000 spectators over two days.
The firm’s chief financial officer Dominique Thormann has said that one of Renault’s main challenges in the second half of this year is its “lack of visibility” in emerging markets such as Russia.
In terms of making bold statements, the RS 01 is quite a show-stopper. Powered by the same 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged engine as the Nissan GT-R, the closed-cockpit racer comes with 493bhp.