The third season in the history of the Ukrainian team was one of the most eventful ones. The schedule of Tsunami RT in 2009 included several motorsport disciplines at a time – rally, circuit races, endurance racing and carting. The geography of competitions was also vast – United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Italy... The diversity of the racing cars was very impressive – from modest VAZ-2108 to Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 997).
2009 season started early – the team arrived in United Arab Emirates just after New Year's Eve, where the marathon race of Dubai 24 Hour held from 2006 took place on 8-10 of January. This competition on Dubai Autodrome (racing lap length is 5,39 km) has liberal Regulations that give the possibility to participate with the cars of different classes – from usual cars to the cars of GT category.
Tsunami RT crew consisted of five drivers from Ukraine and Russia known for their participation in rally and circuit races. And if Oleksandr Gaidai, Ihor Storchak, Aleksandr Zheludov and Mikhail Ukhov were already considered as team "veterans", the Russian driver Aleksei Basov (winner of FIA European Touring Car Cup in Super Production classification in 2007) became a fresher in Tsunami RT.
A BMW 120d of D1 class (diesel cars with engine cubic capacity up to 2000 cm3) prepared by the well-known German company, Schubert Motorsport, one of the best European companies specializing in the preparation and maintenance of racing BMWs, was rented for the participation in Dubai 24 Hour.
The first showdown on the unknown track was successful – Tsunami RT crew became the best in its class in free practice (of five participants) and than demonstrated the second result during night rounds. According to the results of qualification the pilots of the Ukrainian team demonstrated the best results in their class and outran the immediate competitor for more than 15 seconds and also had the 49th result in absolute classification (of 78 participants).
But the race itself was much more complicated. The even and rapid pace had to be maintained within the whole 24-hour marathon that required the highest level of concentration of attention and forces. The first third of the race was successful for Tsunami RT – BMW 120d crew got a steady leading position in D1 class and was gradually improving its results in absolute classification. Finally, after eight hours of the marathon race, the pilots of the Ukrainian team were on the top position of D1 class with a gap of 10 laps from the immediate competitor and had the 24th position in absolute classification!
First problems were revealed after that – a severe vibration appeared that forced the team to attend boxes earlier than scheduled and replace the cardan shaft. The fault seemed to be eliminated but in a couple of hours the vibration began again and the crew had to enter the pit-lane out of schedule again. Even under such conditions the Tsunami RT crew was leading its class with the considerable gap (8-9 laps from the immediate competitor) after 14 hours and held the 25th place in overall classification.
The technical problem was not eliminated completely that led to the long staying in the boxes (more than half an hour) and after that the crew ceded the leading position in the class. However, even with this loss of pace they could count upon the podium in D1 according to the results of the race. But after some 16 hours the race finished for Tsunami RT – on 332nd lap Aleksandr Zheludov collided with Lotus Exige GT4, whose pilot hadn't noticed the approaching BMW 120d after having driven out of the boxes.
The consequences of collision were unfavourable for Tsunami RT – the car escaped from the track, collided with the bump stop and got the faults that didn't give any possibility to continue the race. But the distance passed for the moment (331 laps or 1784,09 km) let the Ukrainian-Russian crew to qualify with the forth result in D1 class and 55th result in absolute classification.