By: Irina Boyarskaya
Photo: Akis Temperidis
Favorite but complicated track of Imola pleased both drivers and viewers with clear sky, bright sun and spectacular races. And our team is happy with the perfect result too!
The free practices of Friday were different for our drivers. Côme Ledogar finished with the second result in both sessions, following Riccardo Agostini. But Oleksandr Gaidai had bad luck: his gearbox stuck during the first session and he could pass only 9 laps.
The qualification of Saturday changed the balance of power abruptly: Ledogar was ahead of Agostini by almost half a second. Côme answered the question about the significant changes before the qualification very simply: "We need free practices to understand where we are and make the strategy. And then the work started." It means that he just hadn't had any rush the day before. Here we are: Côme and Tsunami RT have the second pole for the second PCCI round!
But the qualification of Oleksandr Gaidai was completely different.
O. Gaidai: "I had a plan to start 2-3 minutes later than the first cars not to be in the middle of the traffic: But 4 more cars started just behind me. I passed my two fast laps and entered the traffic. I passed another lap, cooled the tires and decided to try one more time because I was told over the radio that I was way the hell and it wasn't usual situation. And I entered the traffic again! No clear lap at all. I took the 11th starting position.
That's what I was thinking after the unsuccessful qualification on my favorite track: if I had so many misfortunes, they would come to an end some time! And the race has to be good! But I understood that it would be complicated enough. And I was thinking about the start the rest of time before the race: how I would start, what I would do if there was a logjam in front of me. I was thinking everything over meticulously..."
However, there were some shifts before the start. Enrico Fulgenzi ran into the wall during the qualification and diverted his mechanics with the repair of all the front part of the car. But the mechanics didn't finish the reparation because Fulgenzi's radiator flew before the entrance on the starting grid. So, Enrico had to start from pit-lane and not from his forth position (and Gaidai was on the tenth position already).
After the brilliant start Côme Ledogar kept his leadership confidently. Riccardo Agostini who had also started from the first line definitely became on the overtaking position.
In the very first turn the amicable meeting of Niccolo Mercatali and Takashi Kasai resulted in nothing more than a fright for Italian driver's Porsche, but the car of the Japanese one will need the help of a good plastic surgeon.
Ennrico Fulgenzi left the pit-lane after all, but only to reveal that the fuel pressure dropped and it was high time to go back.
Oleksandr Gaidai came more and more forward leaving Alberto De Amicis behind and suddenly... escaped the track! It wasn't so critical, he lost not more than two seconds, and he had the time not to lose the position. Having admired the show, de Amicis collided with Aku Pellinen in Tamburello turn and both of them came into the end of peloton.
To the end of the race Mattia Drudi had the time to work Agostini's nerves, but the referee cheerfully waived the checkered flag at the moment.
Côme Ledogar was on the highest podium step again, without any protests that time – he was just leading from start to finish, hard to fault! Riccardo Agostini had the second, and Mattia Drudi – the third result, and it's hard to say if the result was the same on condition that the race would have one more lap...
Côme Ledogar: "The team had made a great job and the car had been prepared perfectly, so the race was... no, it wasn't simple at all, it's always difficult in Imola, but I was keeping my pace without mistakes.
Tomorrow it will be more complicated: the first six drivers start in the reverse order, and every driver ahead of me is to be overrun. It will be tightly and not simple on the track!"
Oleksandr Gaidai finished on the fifth place starting from the 11th position! And he took the fifth position in overall classification, four points more than de Amicis and only two points less than Mattia Drudi!
Oleksandr Gaidai: "Two laps before the finish, when I was the fifth already, I understood that I couldn't reach Drudi and Giraudi, and it was better to come with the fifth result than not to finish the race at all.
It will be very interesting tomorrow. I will start on the new tires, and it will give me some advantage. I have no speed illusions as for the 1st and 2nd places – Côme and Agostini. And the following competitors has quite the same pace. I usually drive the second race better than the first one. So I have to broaden the gap with the other competitors all out. And I also have to overrun Zhang Da Shen starting from the pole position on the first lap.
I will be glad if I come in top-3. I will be glad even if I finish in top-5; these are also points and they are precious. I want to reach the 4th place in the overall classification."
Porsche Carrera Cup Italia 2015, round 2, Imola
1. LEDOGAR Côme (Tsunami RT) 14 laps
2. AGOSTINI Riccardo (Antonelli Motorsport Srl) +6.251
3. DRUDI Mattia (Dinamic Srl) +6.706
...5. GAIDAI Oleksander (Tsunami RT) +17.509
...16. PELLINEN Aku (Lem Racing) +4 laps
On the start of Sunday the first six competitors were located on the grid in the reverse order: Zhang Da Sheng from China was on the pole position, and Oleksandr Gaidai started from the first line. Côme Ledogar was on the sixth position. Go on!
Gaidai's start with the graceful overrun of the Chinese driver was brilliant. Gianluca Giraudi followed his lead after a while. Ledogar and Agostini unitedly overran Mattia Drudi and sighted on Zhang too. The competitor with the best lap of yesterday, Stefano Colombo, was breaking forward from the end of the peloton.
Oleksandr Gaidai lost a fraction of a second on the slippery place. It was enough for Gianluca Giraudi to overrun him and lead the peloton without let or hindrance. Andrea Fontana and Christopher Gerhard went for a drive beyond the track.
The most interesting struggle for the second position started. Oleksandr Gaidai was rushing to the second position, followed by immediately adjacent Riccardo Agostini and Côme Ledogar just behind. Two Antonelli Motorsport and two Tsunami RT cars were dividing the places on the podium. Agostini attacked, Gaidai defended, and all this on the highest speed. It was a great pleasure to watch but hardly anybody liked to drive on of those cars at the moment.
In some time Riccardo had some other problems except Gaidai – he had to keep Côme Ledogar behind! And the latter is followed by the green Porsche of Mattia Drudi. The 16-years-old driver didn't put up a fight but was waiting for his chance.
And Drudi didn't lose it! As Come Ledogar made a successful attack, Agostini had to put up with the fact that he had given the way to two cars, not the one.
Côme overran Oleksandr Gaidai, because our drivers had decided in advance that they wouldn't surpass the trajectory for each other, but make the overrun in such a place not to lose the speed for both of them. And Ledogar still chose not ideal place for overrun, and Gaidai lost two seconds in the turn giving way to the teammate after an unexpected dash. Ledogar started the pursuit of Giraudi who had rushed far away, having kept a green car driven by Mattia Drudi as a souvenir to Gaidai.
That's all we needed! Two more laps, and Gaidai was keeping Drudi behind. At the same time Alberto de Amicis who had started at the end of the peloton accompanied by Enrico Fulgenzi and Alex De Giacomi both having escaped the track the day before, resolved all the questions on the possibility to get points for the three of them at a stroke, having pushed both drivers from the track and having heard a lot of expressive words from his competitors and 25 penalty seconds from the referees.
Takashi Kasai was saving the car repaired after the yesterday incident so reverently that he came to change the tires on the pit lane. According to his trajectory beyond the track, he'd better use the gravel tires.
Stefano Colombo was breaking to the leading group for all the time not without mistakes but with good results. And he got what he wanted to the moment when Oleksandr Gaidai made a mistake having given the way to Mattia Drudi and Riccardo Agostini.
And two laps before the finish Colombo hit Gaidai in the rear wheel during an attack. Porsche with the Ukrainian flag on the roof performed the double axel and returned on the track on the eighth position already, instead of the fifth.
Tsunami RT registered a protest... "Oh, don't say that!", responded the stewards. It was just a racing incident! But the most offensive fact is that Colombo's result is still in question, because the postrace technical commission revealed the incompliance of the shock-absorbers on his car with the technical requirements. There will be an examination... but it's impossible for Gaidai to get back his lost points.
The triumphing Giraudi who had diluted the total domination of young pilots on the podium was honored on the finish. Côme Ledogar added the silver medal of the second race to the golden one in the first. Mattia Drudi was third again.
C. Ledogar: "Giraudi was very fast. Even if there were two more laps, I wouldn't reach him. But, to be honest, two more laps are the last thing you want at the end of the race!"
Porsche Carrera Cup Italia 2015, round 2, Imola
1. GIRAUDI Gianluca (Antonelli Motorsport Srl) 17 laps
2. LEDOGAR Côme (Tsunami RT) +4.728
3. DRUDI Mattia (Dinamic Srl) +9.967
...8. GAIDAI Oleksander (Tsunami RT) +30.929
...19. KASAI Takashi (Antonelli Motorsport Srl) +1 lap
Tsunami RT leaves Imola as the leader in team classification (60 points in comparison to 51 of Antonelli Motorsport), Côme Ledogar is the leader of the individual classification (65 points in comparison to 53 of Agostini), and Oleksandr Gaidai is on the fifth position in absolute classification compared to the sixth one from Monza.
O. Gaidai: "I have good general impression of the weekend notwithstanding the offensive situation in the second race. Two races with points are worthful. The championship will be very difficult. Points, qualification and experience should be gathered during each race".
In July there will be no lack of kilometers and experience: Oleksandr has the next start just in a week, on PCCF round on Val de Vienne track.