By: Irina Boyarskaya
Photo: Akis Temperidis


In fact, any race somehow resembles Russian mountains – at least, it is the same emotional tension and adrenaline burst. It has also a similar duration: before you know it, you already have to unbuckle the seat belts and leave a gondola. It revealed that the 12-hour endurance is not an exclusion. But there is more resemblance of Russian mountains here: any pit stop is a sharp descent down the table of results anyway, followed by a hard climb. The main goal is to finish on the top point. And we went there!



The amusement park named Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello met its guests with such a cold on Thursday that everybody had doubts if they had found the right way and came to Italy. However, on Friday and on Saturday Toscana tempered justice with mercy, and chilling wind with the mild spring sunshine. Having used the possibility of driving as much as possible previously during private tests and then on free practices, the teams located themselves in the multicolored gondolas of Russian mountains with the starting numbers on boards.


Tsunami RT got the 19th starting position after the qualification, that meant the second position in the 991 class. In endurance races qualification plays much less important role than in, for example, in the well known Porsche Cup: the situation turns on its head and back so many times within 12 hours that the tenths of seconds won in the qualification have little importance. Especially the traffic on the track should be taken into account: there were 64 cars on the start!



Côme Ledogar was the first to drive our car. Having overrun his competitor from the GT3 Poland team, Côme cosed on the first position in the class. However, the first turning point of the Russian mountains was waiting for him: Ledogar escaped on the gravel and turned back on the track on the third position in the class.

A small sketch from the nearby "train": the rally star and the ex-driver of Formula 1 Robert Kubica already broke something in his Mercedes and headed off not even on the pit lane, but in the boxes. It was a long story...

Meanwhile, Côme Ledogar was winning back the lost positions: he passed Patrick Eisemann quickly, but had quite a job with Kim Hauschild. However, the stability was restored: Côme took the first position in the class again and cheerly drove ahead.


Here we have to mention the terminology: the safety car regime is defined as "Code 60" and the purple flag here (to be honest, it is pink but named purple for presentability). So, the first "Code 60" was announced just 13 laps after the start. In the meantime, Hauschild managed to get closely to our car and even overrun it for a short time, but Ledogar restored status-quo.



On the 20th lap Côme's car had slow tire puncture. For that matter, Porsche directed to fill the fuel. In that moment the plain part of the Russian mountains was coming to its end. It was rather steep for us: misfortune significantly influenced on the slope angle. All the five filling stations were out of service, and Ledogar managed to fill only 10 liters of fuel. Some laps after Côme drove to the filling stations again and had to win back the lost positions. He was already the third... and the tire blew out!

The new tire was provided complete with the new driver this time: Oleksandr Gaidai took his place at the wheel. He returned to the track... but on the 9th position in the class. It was really a soaring descent...



Oleksandr began to overtake the Förch Racing crew rapidly, bringing to it 5 seconds a lap. It required some time at the initial gap of more than a minute, but there was no climb this time: the tire blew out again! And the new persistent climb started. Eighth position, seventh...

Kriton Lendoudis led the Tsunami RT car on the track with the 9th position in the class after the next change of driver. Before the night break (we remind that 12-hour race in Mugello is divided in two parts – 4 and 8 hours – due to the tight restrictions of noise level) Kriton managed to take the eighth position, but, sadly, it is all we could do within the first racing day. The team was very disappointed: we had required five pit stops instead of the planned 2 or 3, and the result was plain to see also on the table of results.

Everybody went to sleep with the grim determination to do everything above and beyond the call of duty, but hesitated to make forecasts.


So, on Saturday morning Côme Ledogar started from the 8th position in the class. Let us do the cut here, leaving the driver's difficult job behind the scenes, and say that in an hour and 35 minutes Côme was already the forth. At that moment the next "Code 60" was announced – the safety car regime. We decided to make the compulsory change of the driver on that occasion having lost only one position: Oleksandr Gaidai entered the track on the fifth place.

The next change was not so successful: Code 60 was announced just after Ledogar had took to the wheel again. But the mood in the team was not grim anymore, the determination remained but painted with more vivacious colors. Tsunami RT was determined that there had been enough soaring descents, and started to remake the track of the Russian mountains in its own fashion that meant steady climb...


Kriton Lendoudis completely familiarized himself with the car within the three days (including the day of practice) and was holding the third position in the class (already the third) with ease.

Actually, it was planned that Côme Ledogar would finish the race in some time, but the Code 60 was announced again because of the collision of the two vehicles of the group leading in the overall classification that were pretending not only to the podium but also to the victory. This time our neighbors had a sharp descent. As for us, on that occasion Kriton drove to the pit stop, and Gaidai rapidly put on his helmet and replaced him at the wheel. There would be no more changes: the finish was close.



Till that moment the gaps were so significant that it was clear that it would be impossible to win back the position by the simple competition on the track. Oleksandr was very rapid, but it was unreal to catch up with the four laps, besides, those four laps separated us from the well-known competitors – Dinamic Motorsport team. At that moment the Audi R8 stopped on the track appeared on the way of the green car of the Dinamic team, and the driver did not manage to dodge the bullet having struck against it with the right rear part of their Porsche. The strike was so rough that the wheel of the Porsche flew off, the body of the car was severely damaged, and after that the car caught on fire.


O. Gaidai: "The fire began in the moment I was passing by. My first thought was that I had to stop and help the driver because God only new what could happen, but I saw a marshal with the fire extinguisher was near. I understood that I would be completely useless there."


Our competitors had bad luck, but we took the second position. It was the second position in the class! We have to mention that we began the day in the bottom of the results table! But still it was not the occasion to relax...

O. Gaidai: "I can honestly tell that I was driving at the end of tether barely to the finish. The team members in the boxes were even joking on how to slow me down. I calmed down only on the last one and a half lap because I understood that I made that race."

Maybe we shouldn't have mentioned Russian mountains from the very beginning? To a large extent, the slogan of the race for us was not at all entertaining: "Labor and patience defeat all resistance."



O. Gaidai: "We were very short of luck just before, there were certain errors in judgment of the team. We had all together: filling stations were out of service, tires were blowing off, lack of understanding of the distance we could drive with this fuel. That morning we started the race practically from the end of our classification. The maximum we could expect (more correctly, we could dream about) was the third place. It was very motivating. I think we could achieve our results thanks to that.

Absolutely all team members did their best today they could achieve. The mechanics were making the fastest pit stops, Irina Kolomeitseva and our coordinator Francesco Mazzoli were making plans and rapid decisions to let us win back more and more seconds... Our Greek driver was performing even better than we had expected. He had a very good progress within those three days.


Today's passion inside the team meant the passion of each member to do his or her best, and it brought its results. The vehicle has no scratches, and we won the highest place we could for that part of the race. It was great!"

We shared the podium with HRT Performance team, and MRS GT-Racing became the winner in the 991 class.


Hankook 12H ITALY-MUGELLO, March 18-19'2016

Overall cllassifications

1. V8 Racing 345 laps
2. Hofor-Racing 341 laps
3. GRT Grasser Racing Team 340 laps
11. Tsunami RT 331 laps
57. Drivex 216 laps
Зачёт 991
1. MRS GT-Racing 335 laps
2. Tsunami RT 331 laps
3. HRT Performance 328 laps
10. B2F Competition 301 laps



But it still was an attraction. Every race is always a small Disneyland. We remember not long and tense working hours, but pleasure and joy, feelings and adrenaline, triumph and champagne on the podium. Emotions and pleasant aftertaste remain in our memory. We participated. We liked it. We want to repeat this experience. Where is the nearest ticket office?