Every race is similar to a song. Sometimes it is rollicking rock-n-roll, sometimes – an ancient ballad (performed along with a safety car), sometimes it can be couplets, a solo aria or rap. The main thing is the anthem played in the end in honor of the driver of your team standing on the podium!
"An oratorio is based on some plot that generally tells about historical or legendary events, usually having the exalted historical connotation." Oh, it is just about our weekend! So, it will be an oratorio!
It was not easy to suppose how GT Cup Open Europe would sound. A complicated score was composed for a combined orchestra consisting of Porsche, Mercedes, Lamborghini, McLaren and Audi. Although we knew certain performers, anybody could spring surprises.
The system of musical interludes – we mean handicaps – and changes of musicians during the performance of the music piece gave additional complications. Master tuning of free practices took place on Friday. Then the time came to perform a new oratorio a prima vista for the first time.
Here we are, full audience, the curtain rises... The musicians stay on the scene in certain order. Hans Peter Koller met by our long-term fans on Porsche Carrera Cup Italia rounds is on the forestage. Lino Curti is in the fifth row.
Adagio. A safety car starts the oratorio. The vehicles pass a setup lap in the swaying rhythm of barcarole. GT Cup Open Europe has a rolling start. That is why, when the participants arrive on the starting line again, there comes an abrupt accelerando, and 17 cars leap into action con anima.
Koller managed to keep the leadership, but Lino Curti gives way to the French driver Steeve Hiesse. Common performance is divided into duets, or, to be more precise, into duels for each position. Spectacular overruns, bright competition, and the viewers remain with the feeling that the race participants enjoy the process a lot.
Lino Curti wins his position back having let Hiesse behind, attacks Manel Cherqued and overruns him.
JP Mauro takes the lead. Glauco Solieri and Marcio Basso are rushing forward from the end of the peloton.
Here comes the change of drivers, so the oratorio is performed rubato for some time. When Carlo Curti substitutes Lino behind the wheel, a short interruption happens, but here is our car, on the track again accelerato, accelerato... 26 minutes of race are ahead.
It should be noted, by the way, that before the race each crew got the minimum time to spend on the pit stop, and not all the teams coped with the task having caught penalties. However, Tsunami RT worked well, without any penalizations. Our goal is the podium in Pro-Am class!
Marcio Basso overruns Carlo Curti and tails Daniel Diaz-Varela. It is very interesting to compare the pace of the two drivers in the moment of the attack: if, let us say, Diaz-Varela is driving vivo, Basso passes a lap 3.7 seconds faster! Maybe, it is molto presto already!
The car with the starting number 6, where Edoardo Liberati (well-known by our fans too) substituted Hans Peter Koller, is leading again. He is being attacked by Toni Rodolfo who took up the baton from his team mate JP Mauro. Spectacular duel, overrun, and a mistake of Rodolfo! It is a pity, because a little time remains till the finish...
The peloton has extended, and if separate duets are still exchanging pleasantries and sometimes positions, it is almost impossible to change the mode. That is why the fact that Carlo Curti is on the 11th position is certainly disappointing: the points are scored for the top-10. But McLaren is almost 5 seconds ahead, which is hardly possible to reach...
At this very moment, one minute before the finish, Glauco Solieri who was the third in the overall classification, turned to pit lane from the track! It was the most bitter fall-out of the weekend! We are deeply sympathizing with the driver who has remained without podium, meanwhile we watch Carlo Curti passing under the checkered flag and bringing the first qualification point in overall classification for the team and having won the bronze medal in Pro-Am class!
Lino Curti: "I'm very happy of my stint. I gained position, had a lot of good fights and I didn't make any mistake..."
Carlo Curti: "We lost some precious time during the PIT stop. But I'm happy for this first podium , looking for improvements tomorrow!"
GT Cup Open Europe 2019. Paul Ricard, round 1. Race 1.
1. Hans-Peter Koller/Edoardo Liberati (Vincenzo Sospiri Racing) 25 laps
2. Rodolfo Toni/JP Mauro (Vincenzo Sospiri Racing) +0.668
3. Niki Leutwiler (Niki Leutwiler / PZ OBERER) +21.040
10. Lino Curti/Carlo Curti (Tsunami RT) +58.629
14. Gerard Tremblay/Pierre Martinet (Martinet by Almeras) +2 laps
1. Hans-Peter Koller/Edoardo Liberati (Vincenzo Sospiri Racing)
2. Guilherme Salas/Marcio Basso (Sports and You)
3. Lino Curti/Carlo Curti (Tsunami RT)
Let us remind the listeners: there can be no applauses between the parts of the oratorio. A minute of silence, we are listening to the calmness and pass to the Sunday part of our piece.
The younger of Curti brothers, Carlo, is the star of today. He passes the qualification on the eighth position and is ready to start, as 15 of his competitors...
Carlo Curti: "I did 8 laps , my best in the last one! Lamborghini is unreachable this week end but I'm happy about the feeling with the car, thanks to the team that made a great job!"
The start is strepituoso and ardente – Carlo enters in close contact with his competitors several times in the heat of action. Fortunately, the car remains competitive, but our driver loses three positions that he will have to win back till the pit stop.
The crew of Liberati-Koller is the pole position holder and the race leader this time. The question is that the second driver will not be able to show all he can: Edoardo plays rallentando on the eleventh lap and proceeds to the boxes: a fall-out...
Soon after that the pit lane opens and the change of drivers begins. This time Carlo and Lino perform this scene with ballet accuracy and elegance, it is not for nothing they are caught with the live cameras at this very moment!
Lino enters on the track and passes his half of the race in an expert manner: careful and precise overruns, energetic attacks, and here it is, coda: the 6th place in the overall classification and the silver medal in the class! Great job, friends!
Carlo Curti: "What a fun race! I had some contacts in the first lap so I lost come postition but fortunately not damaging too much the car. Than I regained some position and than Lino made a great stint! Looking for Spa, hoping for a new fight!!!"
Lino Curti: "It has been a fantastic race! Result is good, we fought a lot and we didn't make any mistakes... Next round we will try to do better!!!"
GT Cup Open Europe 2019. Paul Ricard, round 1. Race 2.
1. Glauco Solieri (Antonelli Motorsport) 25 laps
2. Rodolfo Toni/JP Mauro (Vincenzo Sospiri Racing) +4.530
3. Guilherme Salas/Marcio Basso (Sports and You) +35.461
6. Carlo Curti/Lino Curti (Tsunami RT) +51.145
14. Pierre Martinet/Gerard Tremblay (Martinet by Almeras) +2 laps
1. Guilherme Salas/Marcio Basso (Sports and You)
2. Carlo Curti/Lino Curti (Tsunami RT)
3. Cedric Mezard/Steeve Hiesse (Martinet by Almeras)
The performers make the curtain call to the ovation of grateful viewers, the music of motors ceases, and the airy spring silence covers Paul Ricard track. Only some playful notes are still playing in the light sky reminding that there are new music pieces, new music themes, new discoveries and new pleasure ahead. The pleasure that only the true art can give. For example, the art of car racing.