45 thousand people packed the grandstand at the Ayrton Senna Circuit in Goiânia. Marcos Gomes/Mark Winterbottom came second with Allam Khodair/Antonio Felix da Costa third after a fierce battle with Cacá Bueno/José Maria López
Sixty-six drivers made the crowd cheer loudly at the Ayrton Senna Circuit in Goiânia, Brazil, this Sunday morning during the opening round of the Brazilian Stock Car Championship. The Race of the Duos, in which the regular drivers invite colleagues from all over the world, made a spectacular event, and 45,000 came to the circuit to witness the win of the Brazilian-Argentinian pairing Ricardo Maurício/Nestor Girolami.
With 14 drivers with Formula One background and 11 countries represented, the action on track showed several fights - and some ‘rubbing’ between the competitors. The regular drivers started the race, with Átila Abreu leading the pack storming off from pole position.
His lead didn’t last much due to a vibration problem in the rear which made the 2014 runner-up pit right at the opening window to hand the car to Nelson Piquet Jr. But on lap 23 he was forced to retire due to a wheel bearing breakdown.
I knew it was going to be a huge race with all this former F1 drivers and other big names.
Ricardo Maurício was already in the lead with Marcos Gomes right behind. The battle for third was one of the highlights and even after the pit stops it continued between the co-drivers. Girolami sustained the first position and Australian V8 Supercars ace Mark Winterbottom came in a comfortable second place. But behind the leading cars things were going wild.
Antonio Felix da Costa superbly held WTCC champion José Maria López for most of their stints, with Lucas di Grassi and Vitor Meira coming along. Laurens Vanthoor was also in contention, but a mistake put him behind in eight. In an equal Shell red car, Jacques Villeneuve had a coming together with Antonio Perez (Sergio Perez’s brother) while both were in the main straight.
Felipe Fraga and Alvaro Parente seemed to have managed the balance issues of their car and took a good seventh place, while 12-time Stock Car champion Ingo Hoffmann was thrilled with his ninth place after filling in for reigning champ Rubens Barrichello.
It didn’t rain as Jaime Alguersuari expected, but the Spaniard, alongside Luciano Burti, jumped from 24th to close the top-10 placed-duos.
Ribeirão Preto, in the countryside of São Paulo state, holds round two on a street-circuit on April 5th.
Ricardo Maurício #90 (Eurofarma-RC) P1: "To start a season winning a race, it couldn’t be better. Nestor adapted very well to the car, he was always in the front, fast in the wet, really focused. To have given the car to him in P1 was important, and his pace was very strong"
Nestor Girolami #90 (Eurofarma-RC) P1: "It was a dream race for me, I’m very happy. I knew it was going to be a huge race with all this former F1 drivers and other big names. I trusted Ricardo because I know how professional he is. When I jumped in the car and left the pits I tried to speak to the team and nothing happened, so I realized I had no radio communication. So the team used the pit board, and it helped a lot"
Marcos Gomes #80 (Voxx Racing) P2: "A very positive start. The best position when you cannot win is second, so I’m happy with a podium in my first race with the team".
Mark Winterbottom #80 (Voxx Racing) P2: "Good to finish on the podium. It’s the beginning of the championship, so I wanted to do a good job for Marcos and it was a good position. My stint was good for a couple of laps, but my tyre started to wear quite quickly so I had to back off. A podium is good in any day. My stint was pretty uneventful to be honest, so I just drove around. It was pretty straightforward, I had a couple of good laps after the pit stop and in the end the car started to slide a little bit, and I had to back out. I’d love to be given the challenge for the win, but second is excellent".
Allam Khodair #18 (Full Time Sports) P3: "To watch the battle between Antonio and Pechito from the outside is always the worst thing. We were managing a gearbox issue, and this Portuguese went really well. But the final nine minutes of the race were the longest of my life, because we knew there was a chance of a podium finish, but at the same time other drivers were coming to fight. But in the end he managed to stay in front and score a P3 for us".
Antonio Félix Da Costa #18 (Full Time Sports) P3: "We had a gearbox problem, so I had to go a little slower, breaking a lot earlier to hold everyone back, and in the middle of all this it went fine. I managed to secure my position - and I have to say that everybody was really fair in the game. I think we had put on a good show and I’m very glad with our race. I would like to thank the whole Full Time team and Allam as well for inviting me. I want to come back next year".
Laurens Vanthoor #77 (Shell Racing) P8: "I made a mistake that may have cost us a podium, which made me very frustrated and angry at myself. But it happens. I made my best to recover and I got some good overtaking maneuvers. I really enjoyed the weekend and I liked Stock Car so much that I might consider one day race the whole season here".
Jaime Alguersuari #14 (Rz Motorsport) P10: "I’m really happy with the final result, with the team work and with this new experience driving a Stock Car. Burti and I made a great pairing and the team made it easier for me to adapt to the car. For sure I want to be in this grid again in 2016".
Nicolas Prost #4 (Prati-Donaduzzi) P11: "Unfortunately our strategy was not the best, apparently. When I came out of the pits I saw a lot of people passing by, so it was not a good sign. But I could move up a few positions. The pace wasn’t so bad, to be honest. I think we could have finished in sixth of seventh, but we don’t know. But it was a really good experience, I was impressed with the championship, and I enjoyed it very much. You can overtake, but I’m not used to rubbing, but I was almost getting there. And if they invite me again I would love to come back".
Jacques Villeneuve #10 (Shell Racing) P15: "Some drivers made stupid moves, trying to bang the car the whole time. When someone does it to me this way, I give it back in the same fashion. It is this simple. I’m a fighter on track and I like to play it fair. But it takes a lot of time in the end of the day. Anyway, it was really fun out there and I am sure this fight on television was really good for the fans to watch".
Bruno Senna #1 (Prati-Donaduzzi) P24: "Definitely we suffered today. We set up a good strategy of pitting earlier than everyone else and gain some room in the way out, but unfortunately there were some failures like in the refueling. But then the engine started to lose power when I was eight right in front of Ingo (Hoffmann), but it got worse and worse, and when I was touched by Liuzzi it was the end. We had some fun, but we also want to win".
1. #90 Ricardo Mauricio/Nestor Girolami - Eurofarma RC - 35 laps in 52min32s719
2. #80 Marcos Gomes/Mark Winterbottom - Voxx Racing Team - +6s892
3. #18 Allam Khodair/Antonio Felix da Costa - Full Time Sports - +18s475
4. #0 Cacá Bueno/Pechito Lopez - Red Bull Racing - +18s742
5. #21 Thiago Camilo/Lucas Di Grassi - Ipiranga-RCM - +19s102
6. #65 Max Wilson/Vitor Meira - Eurofarma RC - + 19s766
7. #88 Felipe Fraga/Alvaro Parente - Voxx Racing Team - +19s880
8. #77 Valdeno Brito/Laurens Vanthoor - Shell Racing - + 25s577
9. #111 Rubens Barrichello/Ingo Hoffmann - Full Time Sports - + 42s395
10. #14 Luciano Burti/Jaime Alguersuari - RZ Motorsport - + 45s797
11. #4 Julio Campos/Nicholas Prost - Prati-donaduzzi - +46s930
12. #28 Galid Osman/Beto Monteiro - Ipiranga-RCM - + 50s193
13. #29 Daniel Serra/Chico Serra - Red Bull Racing - + 52s997
14. #2 Raphael Mattos/David Mufatto - Schin Racing Team - + 59s049
15. #10 Ricardo Zonta/Jacques Villeneuve - Shell Racing - + 59s682
16. #12 Lucas Foresti/Luiz Razia - AMG Motorsport - +1min04s663
17. #46 Vitor Genz/Matheus Stumpf - Boettger Competições - +1min06s869
18. #110 Felipe Lapenna/Vitantonio Liuzzi - Schin Racing Team - +1min10s047
19. #6 Alceu Feldmann/Ezequiel Raul Bosio - Boettger Competições - +1min11
20. #3 Bia Figueiredo/Matias Milla - União Química Racing - + 1min16s879
21. #83 Gabriel Casagrande/Enrique Bernoldi - C2 Team - + 1min18s789
22. #26 Raphael Abbate/Nicolas Costa - Hot Car Competiçõe - + 1min19s706
23. #72 Fabio Fogaça/Leandro Totti - Hot Car Competições - + 1 volta
24. #1 Antonio Pizzonia/Bruno Senna - Prati-donaduzzi - + 1 volta
25. #73 Sergio Jimenez/Fabio Carbone - C2 Team - + 1 volta
26. #25 Tuka Rocha/Chris Van Der Drift - União Química Racing - + 2 voltas
27. #8 Rafael Suzuki/Antonio Perez - RZ Motorsport - + 4 voltas
28. #51 Átila Abreu/Nelson Piquet Jr - AMG Motorsport - + 8 voltas
29. #74 Popó Bueno/Guilherme Salas - Cavaleiro Racing Sports - + 11 voltas
30. #70 Diego Nunes/Ricardo Rosset - Vogel Motorsport - _ 27 voltas
31. #11 Cesar Ramos/Frederic Vervish - Cavaleiro Racing Sports - + 28 voltas
32. #5 Denis Navarro/Felipe Giaffone - Vogel Motorsport - + 30 voltas
33. #33 Felipe Maluhy/Xandynho Negrão - ProGP - + 32 voltas
Stock Car Brazil