We continue our "10 Questions". Today, we invite our readers to get acquainted with Tsunami RT driver Oleksandr Gaidai.
1. You didn't practice motorsport as a child. How did you get the idea to try racing?
O.G .: I've had interest in cars since my childhood, but motorsport in Odessa ... its level is not just low - it does not exist at all. It didn't exist 15 years ago, and now things haven't changed much. Now there are a lot of karting clubs, that give the opportunity to drive a standard kart, and there's a rally series of Firth Cup. That's all for motorsport in Odessa. Well, in such circumstances, I just had no opportunity to start racing 15 years ago.
When I met Irina Kolomeytseva, she already was going to take part in the Ukrainian rally championship – thanks to her I found out that motorsport in Ukraine does exist closer to Kiev. And in 2006, I saw circuit racing for the first time on "Chaika" circuit. I was interested and decided to try myself.
I'm a rather thorough person, therefore I set myself the task - and began training with Igor Storchak. I drove a BMW, it was my first acquaintance with a rear-wheel drive. We had training once a week, and then we came to the conclusion that it did not work. When you come once a week for a two-hour training session, for the first half an hour you just try to remember what you were doing a week ago. A year later we changed my schedule to have three trainings a week, and in six months after that, I had approximately the same results as Igor.
In autumn 2007 it was the first time I drove the car with the roll cage- it was a Lada-2108, and on a 3-km track I was a second faster than Yury Kochmar who at that time had been already driving in rally for a year or two.
After that I started training on the car with the roll cage. We had a rally Lada-21112, with which Ruslan Kucher was participating in rallies. It was as close to circuit racing as I was. In May 2008 I took part in a race with this car, and, oddly enough, became second in the qualifying. I was faster than the Ukrainian regular circuit drivers and was extremely happy. From that moment I realized that I really did like it. I decided that I was just a talent! (Laughs). However, these feeling quickly vanished when I came abroad.
Then we bought a BMW for me, and I finished the racing season on the 3rd place. I lost mainly due to the experience than to speed – I had not enough self-control to win the races. This was the end of my first racing season. The next year, it was the first time when we went abroad.
2. Once you began to race, has your manner of driving on the ordinary city roads changed?
O.G .: Now I drive much softer. The main things I got from racing practice are sobriety and calmness in driving. The boyish sharpness has gone away, it led to nothing but imbalance of the car and high accident probability.
3. What moment in the race weekend is the most thrilling for you? And by the way, do you worry at all?
O.G .: I think every driver worries, because everybody sets himself a target somewhat higher than his abilities. For me, the most thrilling moments are qualifying and five minutes before I get in the car before the race. But I'm not worried in the car, I do not have a nervous trembling at the start.
4. What in racing became a revelation for you? What you haven't known when being a spectator?
O.G .: I've always thought it was difficult. And when you start racing, you find out that every driver is just a man who's to some extent talented and extremely hard-working. I know of only one acting driver who is extremely talented and to some extent hard-working – it's Lewis Hamilton.
5. If your opinion differs from the engineer's, which point of view do you take?
O.G .: The engineer's one – in most cases. I accept a different point of view if only I do not believe the engineer. But this leads to the fact that we say goodbye to the engineer.
6. What is an interesting racing track? What's the difference from a dull one?
O.G .: It's a track that chamges its configuration in every corner. It has, for example, 15 corners, all completely different – slow and fast, narrow corners and corners with compression. For me, interesting tracks are Imola, Spa, Nurburgring. If we talk about France, it's Magny-Cours. There are many uninteresting tracks – even those where I'm fast, for example, Misano and Paul Ricard. When I go to these races, for me it's like going to the nearest shop. And when I go to Imola or Spa – it is an event that every time is a challenge to me.
7. On what track, where you haven't been yet, you would like to drive?
O.G .: Until this year, it was the circuit at Spa. And now it's – Portimao.
8. What is perfect race duration for you?
O.G .: I think the races should last a little longer. Many drivers, after 35-40 minutes, begin to lose concentration and also are physically tired. A 45-60 minutes' race – it's like 400 meters running. One needs not only speed, but endurance as well.
9. What is more difficult - to overtake or to hold the position?
O.G .: For me it's to hold the position. When I'm overtaking, I try to do it as correctly as possible, looking for a proper place where it can be done. Drivers who are trying to overtake me, often knock me off the track. This is the point in the race, which I do not like because it usually doesn't lead them to any punishment, if we are talking about Italy.
10. What would you change in Porsche Carrera Cup if you could?
O.G .: First of all I would change the whole refereeing in the Italian race, actually - the race directorate. I'd replace them with absolutely independent referees. We constantly meet with the fact that, unfortunately, the rules are interpreted in very different ways for Italian and foreign drivers. And it's not only me who faces this fact. Here is a good example - Riccardo Agostini won the race in Mugello with a lot of cutoffs on the track. And in Spa, Agostini was deprived of the pole position because of cutting - that's the difference in the decisions of the Italian and independent referees. I want the races to be fair.
11. The 10 questions are over, but we did not ask you the standard question – do you have any superstitions associated with racing?
O.G .: Do you think one can be superstitious when driving under the 13th starting number?!