CLUB “CAR LOVE”
“PORSCHE” DOES NOT KEEP OUT OF THE HEART
SERGEY ZINOVIEV. PHOTO: YUKOS-RWS
The Russian crew of the YUKOS-RWS team continued the season with a start at "12 hours of Sebring" - in American Florida, where in 1950 the military airfield was converted for hours of racing. Today it is a modern highway with a length of almost 6 km with seventeen turns, although by European standards it is a bit narrow.
The Russians never performed in Sebring, and the task was complicated by the fact that the strike pilot of our crew, Alexei Vasiliev, didn’t come to the United States (for personal reasons he should have stayed in Moscow). He was replaced by the fourth rider YUKOS-RWS Frenchman Stefan Daudi. Thus, a trio of Nikolai Fomenko, Daudi and the Austrian Walter Lechner began a three-day training session. Especially for this race, the Porsche-996 team car received a new, more powerful engine (445 hp).
Of course, one should not be deceived. After all, 55 crews were announced for the race, and most of all just in our GT class - 25. The list of participants includes factory teams Audi and Bentley, a galaxy of ex-pilots of formula 1: Mark Blundell, Johnny Herbert, Mika Salo, Max Papis. Yes, and the long history of the race, the eternal duel “Ferrari” and “Porsche”. Finally, for most crews, the 12 Hours of Sebring is an important stage in the US Le Mans Series endurance championship.
Fortune ordered that Fomenko was not even able to speak directly in the race. In the qualification, Daudi earned an excellent thirtieth position at the start for the crew - fifth among the GT cars. He also took the start, safely avoiding the inevitable confusion: 55 cars are still not a joke. In formula 1, we know, and two dozen sometimes closely. An hour and a half later, the Frenchman, who held fifth place, was replaced by Lechner, and on the seventieth lap the race for our crew unexpectedly ended - the engine exploded. As a Porsche representative said, “This happens once every 150 years!” Especially offensive: from the support of the plant you usually expect not only additional horsepower.
The race, which finished at seven in the morning, was won by the crew on the Audi R8, starting with pole position, Frank Biela, Marco Werner and Philip Peter.
We will nevertheless assume that YUKOS-RWS completed its main task at 12:00 Sebring: it showed itself and looked at others, especially since the United States tracks for the team are terra incognita. The main battle will take place in the already familiar Europe. First of all, of course, this is the FIA GT championship itself, and also the start in the legendary “24 hours of Le Mans”.
FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP
April 6 - Barcelona (Spain)
April 27 - Magny-Cours (France)
May 11 - Pergusa (Italy)
May 25 - Brno (Czech Republic)
June 29 - Donington Park (UK)
July 26 - Spa Francorchamps (Belgium)
September 7 - Anderstorp (Sweden)
September 21 - Oschersleben (Germany)