By: Irina Boyarskaya
Photo: Akis Temperidis
You know, residues sometimes are left on the bottom of a bottle. Nobody has any suspect of it until the bottle is empty, and all the residue gets in the last glass. In such a way the final stage of Porsche Carrera Cup Italia in Monza managed to gather the unique set of misfortunes, errors and fall-outs the participants could avoid within the season.
At first everything seemed rather peacefully. The results of free practices satisfied both our pilot Oleksandr Gaidai and his coach Kevin Estre:
"Usually the first session of free practices is dedicated to the work on the driving nuances, and during the second one we give attention to the car settings. Oleksandr demonstrates the good pace today. There is a loss of time in two turns on the last sector yet, but we will work on it, but the rest was perfect. He continuously improves the results, and I am sure that Gaidai can have good results tomorrow."
The qualification gave Oleksandr the possibility to demonstrate his best time in Monza and to have the eighth position on the starting grid. And everything started afterwards...
In the very first group of turns named Rettifiglio there is an asphalt cut-off where the part of peloton flooded. Really, why should we steer the wheel once again?! And the intense steering would have been required because Enrico Fulgenzi and Alberto de Amicis caused two symmetrical logjams on the right and left borders without any arrangement. Both heroes had to leave the track, and some pilots had to complete the race with damaged cars.
Oleksandr Gaidai also had to bear – the impact in the left wheel damaged the toe-in, and all the rest of the race the Tsunami RT pilot had to fight not only with the competitors but also with the car. Porsche made the right turns without any problem, and when the left turn was required, the car resisted as best it could. Of course, it influenced the speed a lot, and the hope to finish in top-6 vanished with every lap.
However, it wasn't the main misfortune that can happen with the car. For example, Ilya Melnikov and Pietro Negra had to finish the race ahead of time: one driver had the drive gear cut, and the second one pinned the radiator.
At the same time, at the beginning of the peloton Matteo Cairoli who had started from the pole position as usual, habitually flew forward.
Gianluca Giraudi, who was accompanying the newly-qualified champion on the first line of the starting grid, lost all his advantage and moved firstly on the 4th, and then on the 5th position. Vito Postiglione, Edoardo Liberati and Giovanni Berton were fighting for the podium.
Oleksandr Gaidai applied excessive braking in one of the turns and gave way to Rinat Salikhov and Marco Cassar. The latter escaped from the track in Parabolica turn in his joy at sight and firmly stuck on the gravel. Gaidai started to attack the Russian pilot. Live cameras finally stopped focusing on the poor events on the beginning of the peloton and caught hold of Salikhov-Gaidai duet. And there was something to see: Oleksandr was continuously attacking and signaling with lights, Rinat resisted fiercely, but at last Gaidai burst ahead.
The leaders, having noticed such a lack of attention, checked themselves and also started to attack. Edoardo Liberati overran Vito Postiglione, and Giovanni Berton tried to do the same but had no success. Postiglione managed to return to the second position, but Liberati had to defend his bronze podium: Berton was fighting like a lion, but unfortunately the race finished at that moment. On the last lap Rinat Salikhov took advantage of the Oleksandr Gaidai's mistake and moved the latter on the eighth position, but our pilot was satisfied with the result: he had the fifth result in the season after the race. At that moment Oleksandr had only to hold Alberto De Amicis behind. Nobody supposed what tomorrow held...
Porsche Carrera Cup Italia, Monza
1. CAIROLI Matteo (Antonelli Motorsport) 16 laps
2. POSTIGLIONE Vito (Ebimotors) +4.536
3. LIBERATI Edoardo (Ebimotors) +5.406
7. GAIDAI Oleksandr (Tsunami RT) +30.631
10. WALTER Ben +1:31.329
Sunday started with the scrutinous preparation of the car. Gaidai's Porsche was equipped with the new gearbox (we remind that this part of "battle" Porsches has the most shabby character). Warm up lap, and go!
And at sight it revealed that the new gearbox is packaged with unpleasant surprises: it wasn't possible to switch to next gear or the order of switching was correct, but the delay was disastrous. The only thing Oleksandr Gaidai could do after the start is to overrun Rinat Salikhov. But already to the first turn his attention was focused on the way to cope with the gearbox. Gaidai was losing the pace rapidly...
Vito Postiglione was also in a difficult situation: he entered the first lap in the smoke leaving the tail of oil behind. Having reached the pit lane, Vito relieved to give the broken Porsche to the mechanics and went to watch the race.
Alex De Giacomi started from pole but was rapidly moved to the fourth position. His teammate Giovanni Berton, who finished the race yesterday a footstep away from the podium (the most offensive part!), burst ahead. He was among the leaders not for a long time thanks to Gianluca Giraudi.
And... Porsche with the yellow and blue flag on the roof flew off the track in the turn of Variante Ascari and bumped into the wall!
O. Gaidai: "The reasons were as follows: the gears were switching badly, the wheels had already got cold, the turn was speedy, and the serious adherence was required here. The car was simply "tongued" from the turn due to the problems with the gearbox and the cold wheels. I caught the car already on the gravel, but there was a mound, and we had the described result after the bump from the lower side."
The safety car entered the track, Gaidai's broken car was evacuated and the pilot was examined by the team of doctors. Fortunately, there were problems only with the car, Oleksandr was OK. If not to pay attention on the mood, of course...
O. Gaidai: "I am really sorry. But it's a technical sport, and not everything depends on us. We have to make conclusions of the situation: if the car behaves like this, you shouldn't try to get a maximum of it. You should either wait until it starts to work correctly or not go to the track at all. The situations like that of today are useless for anybody."
The race started again 11 minutes to the end. Angelo Proietti targeted to the fifth position of Alex De Giacomi. Ilya Melnikov made a mistake and flew on the gravel.
The top-4 left no space for others, only 1.2 second between the 1st and the 4th positions. Giovanni Berton was called to the pit lane for the penalty, but it seemed not to bother the Italian pilot at all, he continued to attack the leader, Gianluca Giraudi. And at that moment Giraudi's teammate, Matteo Cairoli, came to the rescue. He cut the turn and got the second position, having pushed back Berton and Edoardo Liberati.
The offended Berton tried to continue the struggle hoping that the insolent young driver would return the position according to the rules. But the demonstration of rules violation gave its results: Berton went to the pit lane. At that very second Cairoli decelerated giving way to Edoardo Liberati. And the situation became fair.
Ilya Melnikov was fiercely fighting with Enrico Fulgenzi and Alberto De Amicis was also here to expect a possible mistake.
Edoardo Liberati and Matteo Cairoli overran Gianluca Giraudi on the last lap, and the restless Matteo Cairoli made a crazy try to burst ahead before the marshal removing the checkered flag. But Edoardo Liberati became the winner of the last race of the season.
Porsche Carrera Cup Italia, Monza
1. LIBERATI Edoardo (Ebimotors) 14 laps
2. CAIROLI Matteo (Antonelli Motorsport) +0.128
3. GIRAUDI Gianluca (Antonelli Motorsport) +0.573
13. WALTER Ben +47.345
And the Italian season of the Porsche Cup came to an end. Oleksandr Gaidai gets the sixth place in the result of the season and a lot of useful experience he is ready to apply.
While the glad pilots are douching with the champagne, the Tsunami RT team is already resolving the issues of car repair. By the way, the engineers are completely sure that the notorious gearbox was originally assembled wrong.
But we plan the first practice in two weeks: we will fight for the podium according to the results of Porsche Carrera Cup Italia-2015 season.