A pause in Porsche Carrera Cup France ran over for a long time: the last round before the break took place already in June. Porsche Carrera Cup France organizers followed suit of looking for new circuits outside France. Three previous rounds, in spite of being considered French, took place in Spain, Belgium and Holland. The competitors liked it a lot despite considerably increased expenses for logistics.
Irina Kolomeitseva: "The French organizers made a great competition format. Our logistics expenses are sky-high, but it is our choice. I am glad that we participate in the French Cup, because young people are in charge there and they do interesting and right things. It is always a pleasure for me to participate in the French competitions with the team.
Although, I understand that Oleksandr Gaidai did not have luck on the French rounds this year, otherwise he would be on the top of the gentleman classification. And it is not only this fact that matters. Gaidai is less motivated in the gentleman classification in France than in the professional one in Italy. It is more challenging for him to compete with the professionals, and I understand him."
In fact, none of the three past races lacked adventures for us. But, if truth be told, there was no competition without a podium.
Barcelona opened the season, and Carlos Rivas presented himself playing Terminator for the first time, and Oleksandr Gaidai was involved in the collision with him. Three laps on the gravel, and then working on himself and on the track was performed in a practicing mode. But the Sunday race brought the team the two cups at once – the silver of Alex Jouannem in the absolute classification and the bronze of Oleksandr Gaidai in the Division B.
In the beginning of May PCCF set off to the famous Spa Francorchamps circuit. The nervous weekend presented one more bronze to Oleksandr Gaidai in the gentleman drivers classification, and brought a lot of work to the Tsunami RT Centro Porsche Padova mechanics for making good the car of Alex Jouannem who flew off the track two minutes before the finish of the Saturday race when competing for the podium.
The round in Zandvoort gladdened with the new weekend format... Though, we'll talk about it later, and now let us talk about the cups, because we could not prevent from bringing the decent souvenir from Netherlands! Alex Jouannem took the bronze in the absolute classification of the second race and became the best Benelux driver twice!
So, let us go back to the format! In Zandvoort the racing weekend took two days – free practices and qualifications on Saturday and two races on Sunday. The only dream of Porsche Carrera Cup France participants was to preserve the schedule for the rest of the season...
O.Gaidai: "It is a very interesting format, because you stay in the practicing process all the time. Everything is very lively: you drive for 15-20-30 minutes, and come back on the track again in one hour or one hour and a half. It is not tiring, but there is a feeling of the permanent participation in the process. If the French Championship takes two days, it will be great!"
And how does the French Porsche Carrera series look like from the team director's point of view?
Irina Kolomeitseva: "I love France dearly as a country, I love French people, their approach to the matter, their approach to the democracy... Yes, it works in races too! To earn respect in Italy, we had to spend many years, and only we began to be considered. And to be respected in France it is sufficient just to come and be a good team.
Nobody will prioritize the Loeb's team just because he is French and his name is well known. If you do your job well, you can be a Ukrainian from San-Marino, and you will be respected and considered. There is no differentiation for "us" and "them", the rules are the same for all competitors, and everyone's opinion is important. I should not participate in any behind-the-scenes games, try to prove anything. We are a PCCF player, and we are taken into account in absolutely all the questions."
The only disadvantage of Porsche Carrera Cup France calendar of the present season is in the coincidence of the dates of Le Mans round with the Italian race in Vallelunga. Notwithstanding that Oleksandr Gaidai can miss the French race (gentleman drivers take five best rounds of six for the classification), the issue on where the Tsunami RT team will go remains open. We have feelings, not only the strategy...
O. Gaidai: "I will tell one thing: I have very warm feelings for Le Mans because of the last year victory, and I cannot say that Vallelunga is my favorite track... even a track I have neutral feelings for. It is not that it is difficult, just boring for me. Although Le Mans does not differ a lot from Vallelunga as for the configuration, I take a strong liking of it.
But it is not only about me, we have our team, and its main goals are to win the team and the personal classification in Italy. So, we have not made a final decision yet.
Most of all I would like to go to Imola in PCCF, because my greatest expectations are related to this race. Anyway, there are only my favorite races in the second half of the season, excluding Vallelunga: two races in Imola, Mugello that I like, and Paul Ricard – maybe, the most successful circuit for me from the point of view of results and possibilities. So, I am pleased to prepare myself for next starts."