In the years since ancient Greek theaters, having passed through gladiator games and horse races in Ascot, The Globe theater and the Olympic Games, Shurale ballet and sack race competitions, the main rule keeps on living and acting: "Show must go on!"
Motor races mean the show, of course. We mean, everything is very serious inside the stand – on a pit lane and on a track. Everybody who has the motor sport virus built in the DNA lives on racing circuits and between them, it is a separate and particular entertaining life we are blessed with. However, the races are the show for their viewers. The teams are actors, make-up persons, scene painters and prompters who banded together to entertain the viewers.
This dramatic introduction was about the fact that the Porsche Carrera Cup final on the Paul Ricard track would be best remembered, first of all, as an amazing show. We have to thank all the actors – leaders of the theater staff, co-stars, guest stars – a final like this can be considered as a real gift from the viewers’ point of view, of course.
So, ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce you a flaming drama “Fight for the victory in the absence of a leader”.
Julien Andlauer, leading with a serious breakaway, but having ditched the show;
Alessio Rovera who has been seriously competing with Andlauer during the whole season;
Ayhancan Güven who is also pleasing us with his speedy driving.
Côme Ledogar, our old friend who was competing for Tsunami RT for two years, and now is our competitor on the track.
Thomas Nicolle who was happy to come back to Tsunami RT after almost a year break.
Many other people (there should be long titles).
The curtain is up over an eye-catching picture of a brightly colored track. A soft Saturday morning is suddenly filled with the roar of 400-HP motors: it is the crowd of Porsche Carrera Cup France participants forces its way into the turns in search of the pole position.
There are a lot of participants and only one pole position, and it is won not by the aspirants for the champion’s title, but by Florian Latorre. Güven has the second position followed by Rovera and Ledogar (it is interesting that both of them are champions of Italy as a part of Tsunami RT).
Alessio Rovera: "I am pretty happy because we depart from the front and we are close to the first two. The car was good, maybe missing a little bit of front tyre temperature, which if it was there we could have attacked for the pole. The setup is good though and we also have a good race setup. In the race we will see how are the conditions, we will see what the drivers from first row what they will do and there is also Côme behind who might attack me. We will see in the field".
Thomas Nicolle: "We didn't do a good work, we will better in the race. I had a spin in my third lap in sector 2. The car was good, it is me that I am not good in qualifying. My specialty is fighting in the race".
Saturday race, especially in comparison to the mess prevailing in Imola just one week before, looked uncommonly smooth and well-regulated. There were more than enough show elements: Thomas Nicolle was turned around twice, in viewers’ joy, and he was not the only one to perform this constantly popular trick. The Sun was just shining, the drivers were overrunning each other spectacularly and accurately: Ayhancan Güven became the leader, and Côme Ledogar took the second position. All the time remaining Côme, as one who had already won the French Championship, was demanding to give him way: he was putting into attack from one side and from the other, signaling with his lights from behind. Güven was pretending not to get drifts demonstrating that it was high time to go to finish for him.
Ayhancan Güven passed the checkered flag first, Alessio Rovera was the fourth, and Thomas Nicolle was the sixth among the gentlemen drivers.
Alessio Rovera: "It was hard because I didn't start well and then my pace was non what I expected and not at the level of the other drivers. I struggled to stay with them, I had a bit of understeering in the slower corners. For sure I believed I could be faster but in anyway we minimised the damage. I would like to have done a race in attack but we see tomorrow..."
Thomas Nicolle: "it was a hard race. I lost a bit of time at the start I came back and finished the race. I spun twice - the first when I was pushed by another driver and the second when crashed with a driver who was dangerously defending himself and pushed my in the straight".
Porsche Carrera Cup France. Paul Ricard, 6th round. Race 1
1. GÜVEN Ayhancan (Attempto Racing) 14 laps
2. LEDOGAR Côme (Martinet by Alméras) +0.324
3. LATORRE Florian (RMS) +0.624
4. ROVERA Alessio (Tsunami RT) +1.154
15. NICOLLE Thomas (Tsunami RT) +1:19.006
16. BLUGEON Christian (Martinet by Alméras) +1:47.928
1. MISSLIN Nicolas (Pierre Martinet by Alméras)
2. DUMEZ Sébastien (Team 85 Bourgoin Racing)
3. DENOUAL Stéphane (Martinet by Alméras)
5.NICOLLE Thomas (Tsunami RT)
6. BLUGEON Christian (Martinet by Alméras)
Sunday is the last battle for the teams, but the universe is still ruled by the principle “Show must go on”. It seemed that the universe had organized only the sixth position on the start for Alessio Rovera to increase spectacularity. We attribute this result to the universe because our driver could not explain what had gone wrong during the qualification.
Alessio Rovera: "It was a bad qualifying and I don't know why... The car is good, there is nothing better we can do with it. In my third lap I did a mistake in the last corner so I skipped it and I didn't have time for another one. Of course, nothing has finished..."
But Thomas Nicolle showed the 4th result in Division B and was happy about it.
Thomas Nicolle: "Qualifying has been a good but complicated because in my first lap another driver came from the pit lane and his didn't move from the line, so I lost a lot of time. I did two more flying laps - good ones - so let's go for the race".
And here it is – the start of the final race of the Porsche Cup France. To that moment five positions on the start divide Alessio Rovera and Ayhancan Güven at the equal number of qualification points. Is the matter settled? Not at all!
Florian Latorre gets ahead after the start. He has nothing to lose (and nothing to win except for the cup for one race), that is why he is holding a course for the finish with all his pleasure. Güven would not attack, only Rovera can impede him... as well as his own mistake, of course.
Alessio Rovera is bewildering the viewers with his branded overruns. He is the fourth now... Côme Ledogar has overrun Güven till that moment (he also drives at his pace), and the Turkish driver appears just before Rovera.
It is “just before” only in the standings, but actually only 4 seconds separate them, and Alessio has to overtake this time. At that very moment...
At that very moment the show is going on! No, it is not a U-turn, not a banal fly-off into a fence, but a real turn over the roof performed by Nicolas Misslin to the joy of the viewers. These events, of course, are followed by a tow truck and a safety car on the track. It is forbidden to overrun but it is possible to approach a competitor to the distance of attack... and keep on tenterhooks the viewers who understand what a crazy fight for the title would deploy as far as this boring safety car goes away from the track.
12 minutes left to the finish, and we have a restart! The atmospheric composition is 95% of adrenaline, 1% of petrol fumes, 4% of complicated emotions. The viewers are admiring the best show of the season – the competition for the PCCF champion’s title – for 12 astonishing minutes, fainting and forgetting to breath! Alessio Rovera is bucking the tiger minutes before the finish: an insane attempt to overrun, a touch with the wheels, both cars are jumping on the kerbs having forgotten about the right trajectory...
Only the Ayhancan Güven’s car leaves this maneuver safe. The steering bar of Rovera’s car is broken. The last lap! The last!! Lap!!! Alessio Rovera crosses the finishing line in the clouds of smoke from the tires, after all!
The cameras switch to the car of Ayhancan Güven that already finished. The Turkish driver leaves the car,and instead of waving to the numerous reporters with his hand, looks away from them and cries with happiness and immense fatigue. This is the show both Alessio Rovera and his competitor gave it their all, to the max. This final will become history.
In truth, it will be after the prizing podium, where happy Thomas Nicolle will solemnly receive the silver of the Division B!
Thomas Nicolle: "I am so happy to be in P2. Of course there has been an accident that permitted my to climb in the race classification but even my driving was better today".
Porsche Carrera Cup France. Paul Ricard, 6th round. Race 2
1. LATORRE Florian (RMS) 13 laps
2. LEDOGAR Côme (Martinet by Alméras) +0.758
3. GÜVEN Ayhancan (Attempto Racing) +8.515
12. ROVERA Alessio (Tsunami RT) +51.066
13. NICOLLE Thomas (Tsunami RT) +59.795
16. BLUGEON Christian (Martinet by Alméras) +1:47.928
1. DENOUAL Stéphane (Martinet by Alméras)
2.NICOLLE Thomas (Tsunami RT)
3. BLUGEON Christian (Martinet by Alméras)
This weekend granted us a magnificent show, as well as the bronze in Porsche Carrera Cup France 2018 in the team classification for Tsunami RT and for Alessio Rovera in the individual classification. The main joy is that we saw it, we were there, we were the part of that booth that makes viewers and participants laugh and cry, catch on their hearts and shriek with delight.
We will come back here in spring, in the new season. It is because show... You know it, right?
By: Irina Boyarskaya
Photo: Akis Temperidis