By Irina Boyarskaya
Photo: Akis Temperidis


Five races in one weekend mean a lot of events, a huge amount of work, and a lot of emotions, sometimes rather contradictory. Of course, we would like everything to be smooth, and it is also desirable that two drivers of our team participating in one peloton would win the race, at that both at the same time, but it is better not to lose connection with the reality and lean upon it with all the four wheels. So we started.



Friday. Vallelunga. A very long day.

We get up early and go to practice. We'll catch up on sleep later. After short free rounds and a much longer siesta the long-expected qualifications started. We got the first point in our collecting box at once: Côme Ledogar won the pole position in the first sprint of Saturday. He followed Mattea Drudi in the second qualification, but by the sum of the two rounds (which defines the starting order of the Sunday endurance race) he was the first anyway!

Mikael Grenier obtained the forth position. The second row on the start is not bad at all! But Oleksandr Gaidai had a rough time after the three-month pause, besides, the driver does not like the track in Vallelunga. Anyway, he gained the ninth position on the starting grid.




Saturday. Le Mans. A very promising day.

The schedule is much more intense in Porsche Carrera Cup France, thanks to the organizers. Alex Jr. – Alexandr Zhuannem – was he only one to fight in Le Mans for the whole team, though everybody was cheering on one – on the energetic French driver dreaming to enter the top-5 in the qualifications and drive both races clearly. Alex managed to do that on Saturday: two fourth positions for the starts of the next day were not bad! Troubles began later, when Zhuannem (among many others) got the penalty for non-observance of the track borders and the seventh starting position instead of the fourth. However, it did not put our driver out of humor. Something tougher was required for that. Alex did not know that Sunday would be so "tense" for him as he could even imagine.



Saturday. Vallelunga. A very podium day.

Meanwhile the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia participants started for their first sprint in the suburbs of Rome. Côme started from the pole, and Grenier –from the fourth position. The yellow flags appeared on the track almost immediately – the track was not enough for Zanini, Minetti and Walter Ben, but all the three found their places on the gravel. Unfortunately, till that moment Mattea Drudi made it to become one of the leaders having overrun Ledogar. It was OK with Drudi who had followed the rules, but Alex De Giacomi and Eric Scalvini performed extremely interesting overruns under the yellow flags, having cheerly overrun Mikael Grenier.

The safety car appeared on the next lap, and within the following more than 16 minutes anybody who wanted could enjoy exclusively the show of the unhurried towing of the cars from the gravel, because the safety car apparently enjoyed staying on the track and presumably was persuading the referees when approaching to the bleachers: "Oh, please, one more lap!"



The race restarted only in 7 and a half minutes before the end. The sportsmen had to stuff in this short period of time everything they were going to demonstrate on the track during the 25-minute race. We have to say that they succeeded in that!

Mikael Grenier overran Eric Scalvini. Côme Ledogar attacked Mattea Drudi. Daniele di Amato and Alessio Rovera were rushing forward from the end of the peloton, overtook Simone Iaquinta, and this fight would have been the most beautiful one of the race if...

If there were no overrun by Côme Ledogar. That was the way the leaders were overrunning in the times of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost! After that race the mechanics were looking at Côme, sorting screwdrivers thoughtfully: we suspect that he is made of iron inside. He is up to say: "I'll be back", and the servo mechanisms will buzz inside of him. However, Ledogar corresponds to all the Porsche Cup requirements, we checked it.


Special thanks to our friend Mattia Drudi for the kindly provided video!


C. Ledogar: "As for my overrun, I don't know if it can be named an overrun of the year, but it was really difficult, and I wouldn't have resolved to do such a maneuver if Mattea hadn't been such a professional driver. It would have ended with a collision with anybody else."

After Scalvini Mikael Grenier overran Alex De Giacomi, having obviously demonstrated to both of the competitors that the overrun could be performed without the yellow flags – and both Tsunami RT Centro Porsche Padova triumphally finished on the podium!

M. Grenier: "Giacomi and Scalvini had overrun me already under the yellow flags, and I had to win my position back after the restart of the race, so I couldn't overtake Côme and Drudi. In other situation I would be able to finish second. Anyway, I am very satisfied with the result."




The second sprint started with yet another distribution of penalties, that put up Oleksandr Gaidai to the 7th starting position. He started followed by Enrico Fulgenzi (be attentive, Oleksandr!) who was overrun by Marco Cassarà. Gaidai was competing with Marco, and Côme Ledogar was attacking Drudi (Mattea had started from the pole in this race). Côme became one of the leaders, and on the following lap...

O. Gaidai: "I made a mistake when braking, I missed the turn a little bit, escaped onto the grass, turned there... And at that moment Fulgenzi hit my practically standing car outside the track on very high speed."

Oleksandr left the track, and our mechanics had enough work the following night. But at first the team had the time to congratulate Côme with his second victory. Three cups in two races are the results of Saturday in Vallelunga.



Sunday. Le Mans. A very unlikable day.

How else can we name the day when Alex Zhuannem was so unlucky?!

The morning race started with the safety car: it started raining, and many drivers hastened to change to rain tires. Alex Zhuannem, having started from the 7th position, made a mistake in several laps and found himself on the 11th place. At that moment he faced the series of overruns. Alex Jr. was ready for that, but what about his competitors?..

A. Jouannem: "Yet another overrun seemed to be very simple, I was on the inner part of the turn, it was very clean and safe maneuver... But my competitor suddenly turned inside, towards me, and hit me in the wheel. The strike was not rough, but it was enough to brake the steering link, and I left the track.

So stupid incident that I am not even disappointed, I am just bemused. Sometimes nothing happens, and sometimes even such a small contact causes such serious consequences.

Now I am preparing for the second race. I hope there will be no accidents."



But these hopes were not destined to be realized. At first Zhuannem was penalized with three positions on the starting grid for... the collision in the first race! No, there is no mistake: it was Zhuannem to get the penalty, who had his car broken. After that misfortunes were gathering like a snowball. One more rain made the track wet, and the second race also started with the safety car. Zhuannem got one of the leading positions quickly and spectacularly, having overrun five competitors in one lap, but unfortunately he had performed his first overrun too early, when it was forbidden, with the safety car on the track. Our driver also got the black flag meaning the withdrawing form the distance for the non-compliance of the penalty pit lane crossing in time. All this from the position of the race leader...

We would say that we gathered all the misfortunes of Le Mans that we could, but that was not true: the car was repaired, and the driver was not damaged. Let us not provoke the fate.



Sunday. Vallelunga. A very tense day.

Let us return to Italy, where the third PCCI race started. It was long for us, especially pit stops: in Mugello the podium means handicap, so Côme Ledogar had to spend additional 15 seconds on the pit lane, and Mikael Grenier – 5 seconds.

Mattea Drudi overran Côme again in the first turn, but the task of our driver was not to win back the position but simply not to leave the competitor go: Drudi had no handicap, so Côme would be far behind after the pit stop.



Oleksandr Gaidai started from the fourth position, followed by Alessio Rovera, Eric Scalvini, Marco Pellegrini and Daniele di Amato. The whole company tried to overtake Gaidai but with no luck. The competitors behind our driver shifted positions: "Let me try to overrun him, you cannot do this... hang it, I cannot do this too... OK, it's your turn now..." Oleksandr was dealing with the attacks of the four drivers for eight laps. But on the ninth lap Daniele di Amato lost his nerves. Gaidai's car was turned after the hit in the corner of the car. He returned on the track only on the 13th position...

O. Gaidai: "You can obtain a good result even on the unloved track, and I did my best this weekend. Unfortunately, the incident with di Amato did not give us the possibility to fight for the podium. But I am glad that my speed is rather high after such a long pause!"

Mikael Grenier replaced Gaidai after the pit stop and did his best to win back the time gap. Mikael finished the eighth, and it is a great result. Under these circumstances, of course.



M. Grenier: "This is not the result we dreamed about, but there was no Oleksandr's fault in that collision. The car was controlled badly after the strike and behaved weirdly in turns. The day was not perfect, but it was not the end of the world."

Côme Ledogar, having spent his additional 15 seconds on the pit stop, returned on the track on the third position, more than 16 seconds behind Mattea Drudi and with Kevin Giovesi ahead, who was not the slowest guy of the crowd. But Côme was winning one second on each lap! He finally made Giovesi to make a mistake, took the second position, but did not slow down. Côme's retard on the finish was only 4.7 seconds from the race winner, Mattea Drudi!

C. Ledogar: "It is hard to overrun Drudi, and I understood that after the pit stop with 15 seconds of delay I would be behind him anyway. I did all I could to come to the closest distance to him. Sometimes it is not simple with these rules, but we gained all the points we could, and now we will continue with Imola."


We will continue in Imola in two weeks. And then we'll continue again with the French Porsche Cup. There are four rounds till the end of the season. This means a lot of events, a lot of work and a lot of emotions. Everything as we like.