Negri does it again with front row start for Granja
1 December 2007- Michael Shank Racing pilot Oswaldo Negri made his annual trek to his native Brazil for the Milhas de Granja Viana, and duly reminded the motorsports world of both his immense talent and his big heart as he scored a front row start in a nerve-racking "Super Pole" qualifying session.
With champions from the worlds of Formula 1, IndyCar, and karting from across the globe, the 500-mile Milhas de Granja Viana is a charity karting race unlike any other. The event attracts a huge crowd, and generates national coverage by all of Brazil's major television stations covering over ten hours of live action.
Negri posted the seventh quickest lap among the seventy-car field in the initial qualifying session, which was paced by 2008 Formula 1 rookie Nelson Piquet Jr. as the top twenty drivers moved on to the final "Super Pole" qualifying. Negri stepped it up in the Super qualifying, scoring a front row start on the twenty-turn 7/8-mile circuit.
"It's an amazing feeling in the super qualifying-you only have one lap and your tires are cold, and you have to get it just perfect in every corner and in every braking zone for a good lap," said Negri. "But this crowd is huge and everybody is so excited you get completely pumped up. It's a great feeling to be racing at home like this with so many fans and for me as a driver to be going up against the best in the world one on one and getting this qualifying result is such a great feeling."
It's not just Negri's pace that is a weapon for his Targh 400 team, as karting hotshoe Joao Vasconcelos will share the driving duties, as well as 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Champion Raffa Matos, who will take the green flag for the team after Negri graciously decided to allow the up and comer to experience the manic start of the race. The two are racers and friends, as Negri has worked with "Raffa" for years and he is anxious to not just share his tricks for speed, but also the maturity, experience, and exposure that comes with pacing this kind of field.
"I am going to let Raffa (Matos) start, because to be up front of this field, with the crowd so excited for the first laps, that's an unbelievable feeling and I want him to experience that," said Negri. "He's an amazing talent and not enough people know that, so I want him to show everyone here how good he is. I can't wait."