So, in all probability, the Ukrainian team will become the champion of Porsche Carrera Cup Italy. How did it happen and why can't we still say that the results of the season are definite after the final in Mugello? Let's read, we are ready to give answers to all the questions!
The situation before the Porsche Carrera Cup final round of the season was as follows:
- Côme Ledogar had 11 points less than Riccardo Agostini in the drivers' classification;
- Tsunami RT was on the second place in the team classification, 6 points to the leader, Antonelli Motorsport;
- Côme's advantages were the perfect control of the car and the ability to keep calm on the track even in the most tussle loom;
- on Riccardo's side — significant experience on the Italian circuits and his nationality: it's clear that the Italians would better see a compatriot, not a Frenchman, as a winner.
It was the beginning of the weekend.
Both on Thursday and on Friday morning there was an abundant rain in Florence and in its suburbs, so the rain tires were needed for the first free practice. The results of the Tsunami RT drivers on the wet track challenged the competitors' minds: Ledogar was the first and Gaidai was the third. On-staff shamans of our team went to dissipate the clouds, to monkey around the paddock. Nevertheless, it took some time: the Saturday morning met the PCCI participants not that with the wet asphalt but with rather damp.
Oleksandr Gaidai chose to play the waiting game: the first cars on the track were to dry and clean it during the half an hour of the qualification. But it was only half helpful: the asphalt remained damp and slippery in the lower parts. Oleksandr made one small mistake for each fast lap and they impaired the result: he had to start the first race from the 12th position.
And Riccardo Agostini after all overran Côme Ledogar on the last seconds of the qualification with his best lap and got the pole position for the first race and two more qualification points.
All the time before start the sky over Mugello tried to get out at least a drop of rain, but it failed – low grey clouds turned out to be of surprisingly low quality. Two races were held under the dry weather conditions but under the shower rain of emotions.
And we pass to the start of the Saturday race. Agostini had the first place, Ledogar – the second, the third was Enrico Fulgenzi with whom it is dangerous to start near, and he came around to warn us that he had bad brakes, and the car could unexpectedly shift from one side to another. These three cars unitedly dashed forward, Côme tagged Agostini, the latter had no intention to give up, Fulgenzi was tailgating as a grey shark expecting the take, and the next 28 minutes promised to be very interesting!..
Two drivers managed to win two positions from the start: Gianluca Giraudi rose from the sixth on the fourth position, and Oleksandr Gaidai, who managed to overrun Takashi Kasai and Alberto De Amicis before the first turn, – from 12th to 10th position, in the point zone. Then Oleksandr targeted to the position of Alex De Giacomi, but the latter was defending intensely.
Agostini and Ledogar were bolting in front. Riccardo was more than satisfied at the moment: if he finished first and Côme – the second, Agostini would be shining in the laureate wreath of the winner of the season in half an hour. But the most interesting thing is that Agostini could be satisfied in the opposite case too – two second places against two victories of Ledogar anyway gave him the possibility to become the champion tomorrow...
And Côme made a mistake at that moment! The team was stock-still near the monitors: Porsche numbered 22 drove through the grass with its left wheels, but returned on the track having lost less than a second. Fulgenzi hadn't enough pace to use this small mistake of the competitor and he remained behind. Côme started to come up with Agostini, the latter became nervous, he kept overbraking and blocking the wheels...
More than three minutes remained to finish. The stress ran up to the max. Côme Ledogar kept attacking Agostini... overtook him... came forward in the right turn to the trajectory for the next left... The yellow flag at the end of the turn, but Côme was ahead already!..
C. Ledogar: "I left him enough space in the corner, but he pushed me strongly at rear at the end of the turn, I started to slide, and he crashed into me for the second time..."
You can see the moment on video - 00:34:45
Ledogar's car spinned, and Enrico Fulgenzi with Mattia Drudi were not slow to take an advantage of it. Côme became the fourth. The message immediately appeared in the online results that the collision would be handled by the stewards after the race.
Meanwhile, the gruesome-twosome of De Giacomi-Gaidai approached Andrea Russo and overran him. Oleksandr managed to overtake the stubborn De Giacomi on the next lap, but there were too many seconds left to the next competitor, Kevin Giovesi... or too little time till the end of the race. Oleksandr Gaidai won three qualification points having finished on the eighth place.
Riccardo Agostini finished first. Fulgenzi, Drudi and Côme Ledogar finished the race in less than two seconds after him. Antonelli Motorsport started to celebrate the double victory in the season, both in personal and in team classifications, but it was not the end of the story: we expected the hearing on the incident between Agostini and Ledogar. What would the stewards decide?..
Within the next few hours in the race directorate the four men in Tsunami RT jackets were representing the touching scene of the hall in a birthing center: one "would-be father" froze motionless in the armchair staring into the space, the second sat down on all the chairs in turn, the third was sitting on the floor hiding the face in the hands, and the fourth was torn in the room as a tiger in cage murmuring something in French by phone.
The task of the stewards was also a difficult one: they had to make a decision that could deprive the Italian series of the ready Italian champion and give a new chance to the alien French from the alien Ukrainian team.
And after 8 p. m. came the decision: to penalize Agostini for 2 seconds for the collision. The attempt of compromise didn't satisfy anyone: Antonelli Motorsport submitted an appeal immediately with the requirement to remove all the penalties of Agostini (2 seconds in that situation meant the loss of three positions and 10 points). But for Tsunami RT the decision looked like a charity of the master: a collision like that had to be penalized with a drive-through during the race or with 25 seconds after it, but not with 2 seconds!.. That's why our team's appeal followed that of Antonelli's.
Porsche Carrera Cup Italia 2015, round 7, Mugello
1. FULGENZI Enrico (Heaven Motorsport) 16 laps
2. DRUDI Mattia (Dinamic Motorsport) +0.641
3. LEDOGAR Côme (Tsunami RT) +0.789
...8. GAIDAI Oleksandr (Tsunami RT) +14.000
...20. BEN Walter (LEM Racing) +1 lap
In the Saturday evening it became clear that there would be no champion of Porsche Carrera Cup Italia in 2015 series that Sunday: the Sports Tribunal wouldn't consider the appeal quickly. But it was an affair of honor for the whole team to put ... let it be not a period... but beautiful elision marks in this season.
C. Ledogar: "I started from the third position knowing that my teammate protected the rear echelons, and I could completely focus on becoming a leader."
Côme became the peloton leader very soon, and Oleksandr who started two positions behind Agostini could overrun the latter and keep him behind.
O. Gaidai: "I understood that every lap of my fight with Agostini meant additional tenths of seconds of advantage for Côme. I had to do it, for myself first of all. It was my protest as a person and as a driver against the unfair referees' decisions the past season was rich in..."
Côme was more and more ahead of his competitors approaching the golden podium doing his best for the chance to win in the season. And Oleksandr Gaidai was countering threats of the Italian driver, applying for the champion's title in the round, during more than 20 minutes (just think about it!).
In general, other events on the track were not so bright against the background of this duel. We have although to mention the spectacular fight of Mattia Drudi with Gianluca Giraudi, won by the young driver.
Oleksandr Gaidai made a mistake in the turn three minutes before the end. Only one small mistake and the Porsche with the Ukrainian flag remained on the gravel and Agostini rushed ahead. Côme Ledogar was already unachievable for the rival thanks to Oleksandr. Agostini was driving on the fifth position. Invisible calculators were working in the heads of the team directors calculating the qualification points...
Two laps before the checkered flag our boss Irina Kolomeitseva suddenly gave us an absolutely absurd version:
- Now Gianluca will give the fourth position to Agostini.
It was obvious that the phrase had been said on edge, with excitement: Gianluca always played extremely honestly, besides, he is a business driver, he couldn't be forced to cease the position for the team... While all these thoughts were running in the head, the cars were passing the pit wall to the next lap... and we petrified seeing how Giraudi reduced speed and politely gave way to Agostini having given him two more qualification points.
But it was already impossible to catch up Ledogar. "La Marseillaise" sounded over Mugello and the happy Tsunami RT applauded to its driver who was abundantly flooding us with the podium champagne, with applauses of the competitors from other teams sounding around – Dinamic Motorsport, Ghinzani Arco and others congratulated us with the most beautiful final of the season-2015.
Porsche Carrera Cup Italia 2015, round 7, Mugello
1. LEDOGAR Côme (Tsunami RT) 16 laps
2. DRUDI Mattia (Dinamic Motorsport) +9.711
3. GIOVESI Kevin (Ghinzani Arco) +16.802
...19. GAIDAI Oleksandr (Tsunami RT) +1 lap
...21. PELLINEN Aku (LEM Racing) +1 lap
The results are considered officially preliminary till the hearing of the Sports Tribunal in Rome. But based upon these preliminary results, Côme Ledogar becomes the vice champion of Porsche Carrera Cup Italia, just one point behind Riccardo Agostini, taking into account 10 points taken from us due to Antonelli Motorsport appeal on the first round in Monza and the round in Spa missed by Côme. We expect that the Sports Tribunal will restore justice, and Côme will obtain his merited champion's title.
And Tsunami RT becomes the best team of the season 2015. It's a Ukrainian team that came to Italy several years ago and managed to prove its professionalism, its speed and its endless love to beautiful and honest races in another country, on not so well known tracks. We believe that we deserve the title, we earned it during the sleepless nights with our continuous attempt to learn and to put our hearts, our knowledge and skills in every start.
No, it's not the full stop of the season yet. But these are meaningful elision marks. Motorsports has to be fair, and we are sure that it's the way the situation will be resolved.