Men, especially her father, were skeptical of her desire to delve into the male-dominated sport. She quickly realized that her gorgeous good looks and sex appeal could help her succeed, and so she began gracing the pages of Playboy.
"Nobody likes women in racing sport, which is traditionally dominated by men, because it’s easier for us to attract sponsors," says Inessa. "This magazine is prestigious enough and helps with PR." In addition to Russian Playboy, Inessa has also stripped down for the Ukrainian and Lithuanian issues.
In 2008, she participated in Prime Yalta Rally, Ukraine’s most prestigious racing competition held annually in the Crimea, and became Best Female Racer of Eastern Europe. Last month, she represented Russia in the Polish race Kotlina Mocy and won.
Inessa now lives in Moscow, since motorsports are more popular there. "We [Ukrainians] don’t have an auto sport culture. I could wait until something changes or I could change something by myself, but one man can't win a war. I need to gain some respect first and then I will help the Ukrainian sport," she says.