By: Irina Boyarskaya
Photo: Akis Temperidis
Heat, heat and sun, heat and rain and heat again – it's the summary of the weekend on Val de Vienne track from the weather point of view. As for the results, we have cups, but twice as little as we wished. But let's start from the very beginning.
Everything in the world is relative, as the great Einstein would say watching the Tsunami RT mechanics in the process of gearbox repair on Oleksandr Gaidai's Porsche. It is relatively good that the failure happened not during the race but on the first free practice. But it's relatively sad that we lost half an hour of practicing.
We had to make up time as we progressed, and the lack of this half of an hour cast a blight on Gaidai's life considerably during the qualification: "I was 0.25 second faster than my best time in the first qualification and applied brakes late in one turn that even caused the block of rear wheels. I was 0.5 second faster than myself in the second qualification, and I decided to be too wary, started to brake earlier and it was my mistake. I lost 1 position in the class and 7th or 8th place in the absolute." So, Gaidai had to start from the 13th position on Saturday, and from the 11th on Sunday.
The first race of the weekend is 35-minute long. For the viewers rushing to do something else 35 seconds after the start were enough to get their adrenaline dose. In this period the Porsche of Joffrey De Narda broke, Mathieu Jaminet escaped from the track, and the peloton changed the leader due to the mistake of the pole position winner, Nicolas Marroc, who changed his first position for the tail of the cavalcade. Meanwhile Oleksandr Gaidai became the Division B leader having overrun Roar Lindland and Christophe Lapierre at one fell swoop (not to nickel and dime!).
Gregory Guilvert changed his route on the next lap: he preferred two straight lines – one outside the track and the second on the pit lane – instead of 18 turns. And some minutes after the start Gaidai got the 7th position instead of the 13th!
After that the process was more or less smooth. But 'show must go on', and the next turn was done by Egidio Perfetti – U turn and fall-out.
Jaminet and Marroc were moving forward from the end of the peloton bit by bit, and Maxime Jousse was exhausting Jim Pla with non-stop attacks hoping to possess Jim's second position. Jim was really pleased with the situation, so he involved also the leading Jules Gounon in the tag. We have to say that both attacks were not successful but very spectacular and exciting.
And within minutes to finish Christophe Lapierre stroke Gaidai in the right rear wheel trying to overrun! It's a real deja vu, we saw that a week ago in Imola! They were both turned around, but if Lapierre was directed to finish, Gaidai drove into the boxes because of the torn tire. Fortunately, the distance driven was enough to be qualified with the race.
O. Gaidai: "Already at the end of the turn, when I accelerated, Lapierre stroke me in the wheel. The race director decided that it had been my fault, I had to leave enough space for him, but the video shows that he had no possibility to pass me without a contact. The situation was left without consequences, as a racing incident. Of course, I am disappointed: the second contact and through no fault of mine."
Porsche Carrera Cup France 2015, round 3, Val de Vienne
Race 1 (overall)
1. GOUNON Jules (Martinet by Almeras) 22 laps
2. PLA Jim (Racing Technology) +0.741
3. JOUSSE Maxime (Sébastien Loeb Racing) +2.881
...13. GAIDAI Oleksandr (Tsunami RT) +4 laps
Race 1 (Division B)
1. LAPIERRE Christophe (Sébastien Loeb Racing) 22 laps
2. LINDLAND Roar (Sébastien Loeb Racing) +1.801
3. DIAZ-VARELA Daniel (Yvan Muller Racing) +25.023
...5. GAIDAI Oleksandr (Tsunami RT) +4 laps
And it was raining on Sunday morning. It stopped to the start of the race, and the air temperature let us hope that the track would dry up soon. Almost all the sportsmen except the two preferred slick.
And the unbelievable mess began from the start. Jules Gounon was leading the peloton, and it was difficult to follow the surnames jumping through the rows of online results with grasshoppers' swiftness. Vincent Beltoise dashed forward overrunning three competitors at a time. Daniel Diaz-Varela and Denis Papin, having started with the rain tires, had the significant advantage on the first lap and they were not slow to use the opportunity.
Oleksandr Gaidai preferred caution, not risk: the start in Mugello is in five days, and he had no plan to wreck the car with the spectacular escape from the wet track.
Meanwhile the track was drying rapidly. Maxime Jousse livened and started to overrun one and all as Beltoise had shown. Gaidai overran Papin and planned to do the same with Varela. Jules Gounon conceded his leadership to Mathieu Jaminet and Jim Pla. Gregory Guilvert (persistentsy is his second name!) drove to the pit lane again after the contact and a spin. Egidio Perfetti escaped the track twice.
Gaidai appeared on the gravel in the attempt to overrun Varela and left the mirror, a piece of bumper and 7 seconds as a keepsake, but continued the race.
And at the end of the race the yesterday winner Jules Gounon escaped the track and granted his bronze position on the podium to Vincent Beltoise (who had started from the 11th position!).
The bronze in the Division B classification was won by Oleksandr Gaidai!
O. Gaidai: "Taking into account the next start in 5 days, I had no intention to mistake. So my approach was to pass the whole distance. That's why I consider my 3rd place in Division B as the unbiased result for today."
Porsche Carrera Cup France 2015, round 3, Val de Vienne
Race 2 (overall)
1. JAMINET Mathieu (Racing Technology) 15 laps
2. PLA Jim (Racing Technology) +1.032
3. BELTOISE Vincent (Saintéloc) +9.476
...10. GAIDAI Oleksandr (Tsunami RT) +43.158
...13. PAPIN Denis (Racing Technology) +1 lap
Race 2 (Division B)
1. LINDLAND Roar (Sébastien Loeb Racing) 15 laps
2. LAPIERRE Christophe (Sébastien Loeb Racing) +0.296
3. GAIDAI Oleksandr (Tsunami RT) +15.645
...5. PAPIN Denis (Racing Technology) +1 lap
The complete team goes to Italy. Mugello is waiting for us! Stay with us!