In 2008, the Tsunami Rally Team has increased the number of appearances, and Russian Rally championship. In addition, the Odessa team first tried its strength at circuit races and the pilot of this team from the first try won the podium at the end of the season.
As usual special emphasis was laid on the rally program, which covered just two national championships – of Ukraine and Russia. Irina Kolomeitseva, who won a championship of Ukraine with Igor Storchak in the class A3 a year earlier, now she moves in the class N4 -which higher- (cars with an engine capacity of more than two liters and four-wheel drive), where she began her appearance with the Russian pilot Alexander Zheludov, absolute champion of Russia in 2006.
Officially Tsunami Rally Team did not participate in the championship of Russia - here the crew of Zheludov and Kolomeitseva defended the colors of Moscow team ProtechMSport. But in the Ukrainian priority this duo represented Tsunami RT in class N4 (Subaru Impreza WRX STI), and became one of three main crew of the team - with Igor Storchak (co-driver Andrey Nikolaev) and Ruslan Kucher (co-driver Natalia Franchuk), who had to compete in 2WD class A3 on the same cars Lada 112 Kit Car. With such composition a goal could be only - the fight for the champion titles both as in absolute and classes, so in the team offset!
The first who opened the season were Zheludov and Kolomeitseva – the first joint start of the new crew was held at the end of January in the Permsky region, where the first stage of Championship of Russia Rally "Ermak" was held. By reason of lack of experience of joint appearances – off road on SU4 and penalty in 25 minutes on Rally2 threw Alexander and Irina outside the Top-10.
However, the next start brought the first big success - Zheludov and Kolomeitseva won a winter Rally "Peno", the second stage of the championship of Russia. After were two podiums in sequence in Lahdenpohje - first in the winter Rally "Ladoga" (the third place), and then in the summer Rally "White nights" ("Belye nochi") (the second place). After the first four stages the Russian and Ukrainian crew was the second in absolute offset of Russian championship with 65 points (before them was only Eugeniy Novikov (95 points).
Strange as it may seem, the turning point came after the Rally "Russia", which became also a stage of the international series IRC – in Vyborg have left without exception all contenders for the champion title in the absolute (Evgeny Novikov, Alexander Zheludov, Andrew Zhigunov). After Vyborg's rally the situation changed dramatically - Zheludov and Kolomeitseva make a jerk, winning three races in sequence ("Uzhny Ural", "Gukovo", "Novorossiysk"), and Evgeny Novikov and Andrey Zhigunov got in twos retirement... As a result, the Russian and Ukrainian crew Alexander Zheludov and Irina Kolomeitseva before one stage to the finish became the champion of Russia in the absolute - both as among pilots and so among co-drivers! Thus, Kolomeitseva became the first representative of Ukraine, who won the title of champion in Russian rally, and at once in the absolute offset!
Rally season forTsunami RT started in February, when the crews of Igor Storchak and Ruslan Kucher appeared in Chernovtsi at Rally "Bukovinska zima", the first stage of Cup FAU of sprint rally. This tandem was not equal in the class A3 (double winner), and Igor Storchak and Andrey Nikolaev finished the third in the absolute offset!
However, the season of the championship of Ukraine has established dissonantly for Tsunami Rally Team. The first problems appeared at the initial stage in the Kamenetz-Podolsk; by the reason of mistakes in the organization of the race the crew with Zheludov and Kolomeitseva at the finish special stage collided with the referee's car and then they had to leave the race!
Unfortunately, this incident has opened the run of bad luck for Aleksandr and Irina, consisting of four retirements in sequence: in Kamenetz-Podolsk (collision with referee's car), Mariupol (damaged of the radiator on the ford), Lvov (first collision with retarders, which were in another place, then a problem with the wheel fastening on a rented Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) and Yalta (off road on the final special stage).
As a result, all the main burden was on the crews of Igor Storchak and Ruslan Kucher, who won five stages in a sequence in the class A3 (three victories of Storchak and two of Kucher). Their regular finishes on high positions in the absolute allowed Tsunami RT to achieve successes regularly on the stages in the team offset - a victory in Mariupol, and the second places in Lvov and Yalta.
At the end of the season the Odessa team has vastly strengthened its composition. As the crew of Zheludov and Kolomeitseva missed the race in Chernovtsi (which coincided in time with the final round of the championship of Russia), so in class N4 in colors of Tsunami RT started Latvian duo of Janis Vorobyevs and Reynas Poznaks on Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. Beginners immediately made the success - despite of penalty during more than two minutes, Vorobyevs and Poznaks became third overall.
Before the final stage in Kherson for the champion's title in the team offset purported two teams: from Odessa Tsunami Rally Team (128,5 points) and from Kiev - ACE Racing (122,5 points). And both teams before the decisive battle decided to increase maximize team's composition – team from Kiev invited Latvian Andis Neiksans, who have already appeared at the beginning of the season for ACE Racing.
In response Tsunami RT made a full power transposition, eliminating five crews. However, Igor Storchak and Ruslan Kucher haven't been nominated in the team offset and could fully concentrate on fighting between each other for the champion title in the class A3. The composition of three major crews became a sensation - Alexander Zheludov and Irina Kolomeitseva (Subaru Impreza WRX STI), Latvians Janis Vorobyevs and Reynas Poznaks (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) and Finns Anton Alen and Timo Alanne (Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000).
The most heated debates was the fact that Anton Alen (factory pilot of Fiat-Abarth, son of the legendary Markku Allen) in his 4WD Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000 was invited in 2WD class A3. In any case, regulations of Ukrainian rally championship provided that a car with naturally aspired engine with capacity till 2,000 cc should be the class A3.
The final race was a completed by success of Tsunami RT, whose crews finished on the first (Anton Alen), third (Alexander Zheludov) and fourth (Janis Vorobevs) places in the absolute offset. This result is completely guaranteed Tsunami Rally Team the final victory in the team offset. In addition, Ruslan Kucher and Igor Storchak won two first places in the class A3, and the team won every single stages both in this class and in 2WD.
The season 2008 has became one of the most scandalous in the history of Ukrainian rally - many problems with the organization of races, a serious conflict between the organizers and the federation, imperfection of sportive and technical Regulations of Ukrainian championship... So at the end of the season Tsunami RT has announced about its leaving the Ukrainian championship and in 2009 is totally focused on appearances in the Russian Championship.
As we already told above, in 2008, special attention was paid to the rally program, but also circuit races are not laying aside. In last year in the championship of Ukraine on circuit races debuted a pilot of Tsunami RT Oleksandr Gaidai, immediately became in the highest division S2000. On two first stages a man from Odessa started on Lada 112 Kit Car (rally car in the asphalt specification) and in one of the races finished third.
In the second half of the season Gaidai had at his disposal a real turing car BMW 320i, prepared according to requirements of the highest international category S2000 – this car before was used by famous German racer Claudia Hürtgen. Mikhail Ukhov tuned BMW 320i, he is one of the best pilots of Russia in touring races. And new successes were at once - Oleksandr Gaidai won in five starts and three times he finished the second. As the result of the season Odessa rider won the third place in the offset S2000, he got two points less than the second prizewinner.