By: Irina Boyarskaya
Photo: Akis Temperidis


The final weekend of Porsche Carera Cup France was held with the common feeling of "Help! The midseason is ahead, and we haven't got enough driving yet!" Each participant of the two races tried to squeeze into two halves of an hour on the track everything he has wanted to demonstrate during the whole season. And when 25 drivers begin to express themselves simultaneously, it is very amusive both for the sportsmen themselves and for the viewers. Nobody remained disappointed, there will be something to remember by long winter evenings...

This time we will start not from the Tsunami RT drivers, but from the winner of the series Matthieu Jaminet. This guy arrived on Paul Ricard already as the new PCCF champion, and his results in the season of 2016 are really impressive: 12 races, 12 victories, 12 pole positions, 10 best laps and 262 points of 264 possible! He has so itching palm – Jaminet collected all the possible points during the final weekend!

All the rest of the events were happening without the leader's participation who just drove forward from his pole position very delicately, not to disturb anybody. And there was something to see!




So, the show began at the start of the Saturday race. Alex Jouannem switched on the neutral, and when he managed to switch on the required gear, he started with the slipping, as in a film about street racers. It was not very efficient – Alex the Jr. lost positions – but spectacular, and it added the diversity in the starting process.


Oleksandr Gaidai preferred another starting option – spectacular (overruns), efficient (plus two positions), but not new (unageing classics).




Two couples – Joffrey De Narda with Jim Pla and Thoms Loran with Florian Latorre – started to exchange positions with pleasure: the fans were binge-watching! Roar Lindland and Dylan Derdaele followed Gaidai, also exchanging positions from time to time. The pace of the race was absolutely crazy: the theme of "we haven't got enough driving yet" was observed in each turn, in each attack and with each driver. Also Kristof Lapierre tried to attack Oleksandr, but he made a mistake, made a U-turn, the viewers applauded, Gaidai was disappointed: he did not have enough possibilities to compete.



The show reached its peak, as befitted according to a good scenario, on the last meters of the distance. It is always pleasant to admire a competition for the podium, and when two competitors drive under the checkered flag with the difference of seven hundredths of second, it is even more astonishing. Starring Joffrey De Narda and Vincent Beltoise, thank you for staying with us.


Oleksandr Gaidai managed to knock down the restless Derdaele and win the silver medal in the Division B. Alex Jouannem won in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux classification and dispensed autographs to the enthusiastic fans.





However, it was only the first series of the show. The second series started on the longest Sunday of the year – it is the only day in the year having 25 hours a day (due to the revert to standard time).


John De Wilde had the first solo performance. His car stopped on the warm-up lap, surely stopped for a long time: the rear wheels did not rotate. All the channel was standing and waiting when the tow truck appeared on the track. One more warm-up lap, and go!




The Sunday race subtly reminded the previous one – at least, for the Tsunami RT Centro Porsche Padova drivers. Another one perfect start of Gaidai and another unsuccessful – of Jouannem. "The car rolled forward on the start (the track was on the uphill), and I had to move my foot from the accelerator and push the brake pedal. That was why I lost the start."

The last half an hour in the season – how to make it a highlight? Jörn Schmidt-Staade had his own recipe: to push off the track Stephen Rehkopf first, and then – Kristof Lapierre, and afterwards – to go to the boxes for well-deserved rest before time. In the result, Lapierre had to compete for the top position from the 19th position.

The situation was not simple also for the Tsunami RT drivers who were unitedly following Nicolas Misslin. The latter defended himself desperately and knowingly, however, to a large extent, the Jouannem's position was of no importance for him: Misslin belonged to the same division as Gaidai, and they were competing for the podium. Everything was clear here. But Jouannem also spent a couple of laps for the overrun trying to explain Nicolas signaling with the lights that the Porsche with the Ukrainian flag on the roof tailgating him was not competing for the victory among the gentlemen drivers.




But it was definitely a contender for the victory in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux round. The irregular season (one day on the podium, another day on the gravel) did not leave the possibility to win the whole series in the final round for Alex the Jr., but Jouannem oversaw all the rest from the above mentioned Jaminet and copied it brilliantly: two pole positions, two best laps and two victories! Ole!

Oleksandr Gaidai won another silver in the Division B: "I am satisfied with the race and the competition. If I had been the first, I would have been satisfied with the result too. The victory was real – I lacked the good starting position after the qualification. I started the 4th in the Division B, and it is always more difficult for those who have to overtake: they lose time in overruns and their tires are worn more.

My competitor was difficult, he was driving well, did not make any mistake, and it was complicated for me. It was a fair competition of the two equal rivals.
I will remember Paul Ricard probably due to the faultless driving in both races, that is rare. I like driving in PCCF this year, it was very interesting, various tracks, in different countries, I enjoyed it a lot!"





In effect, the first thing Gaidai started to talk about after the finish was the future season. About the places he wanted to perform and the reasons of his choice... That is another story, and we will tell it later. But the important thing is that every finish is only a step to a new start.

That is because the show must go on.