RIO 400 Race Report Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Race day started with blue sky and a temperature of over 30 Celsius (more than 86: F). Canadian Greg Moore was fastest in the warm-up, followed by Jimmy Vasser and Brazilian driver Gil de Ferran. "The...
RIO 400 Race Report Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Race day started with blue sky and a temperature of over 30 Celsius (more than 86: F). Canadian Greg Moore was fastest in the warm-up, followed by Jimmy Vasser and Brazilian driver Gil de Ferran. "The car is very fast and I hope to give a great result to my Brazilian fans" said a confident Gil de Ferran. Helio Castro Neves got a birthday cake from his friends and sponsor Ericsson. He celebrated it with Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and all this friends. "I am very emotional, and I really want to give them a great gift." said a smiling Helinho. The race started with Kanaan overtaking Franchitti and Zanardi and taking the lead making the crowd go wild in Jacaripagua. Zanardi recovered the lead and the race went without any accidents, until Max Papis and Tony Kanaan retired because of engine problems. Papis retired after 17 laps and Tony after 28 laps. After the first pit stop Gil de Ferran lost 3 positions, returning 5th. Gil overtook Franchitti and was coming up on Tracy, when he made a doubtful move around Tracy and both crashed. "The car was good, but Gil made a bad move. I was in front of him and he tried to make a dive down the inside, there was no way," said Tracy. "It was a normal move, but Tracy squeezed me and I hadn't space. Two bodies can't occupy the same space, this we learn at school in physics," said Gil. The most exciting moment of the race was at the end, with 3 laps to go, when Zanardi was leading and Moore following closely. "I was saving fuel, but I knew that I had a faster car than Moore" said the Italian driver. At this moment, they arrived at Arnd Meier in Turn 4. "He gave me the outside of the turn and I couldn't overtake him as Rio is very different from Michigan, where you can keep the speed even at the outside of the corner. I lost a lot of speed and Greg came up me very closely," explained Alex. "I came out of Turn 4 a lot quicker than Zanardi, and he gave me the inside, what he is allowed to do, but I knew I was faster at the braking moment and at the beginning of the turn, so I went really deep. Alex went also very deep, we both probably went deeper than we had the whole weekend" completed Moore. This move gave the lead to Moore. He was followed to chequered flag by Zanardi, Adrian Fernandez, Bryan Herta and Michael Andretti. Another great star of the day, even if he did get much notice, was Richie Hearn. Even starting last and stopping 5 times in pits (while all others stopped 3 times), he finished 7th, just 15 secs behind the leader. Helio Castro Neves also retired because of the engine, when he was starting to move up. Another Brazilian who was fighting for the win, Christian Fittipaldi retired after 78 laps with fuel pump problems.
Championship Standings 1.Greg Moore 71 2.Alex Zanardi 67 3.Adrian Fernandez 55 4.Jimmy Vasser 39
Marc Zimmermann Motorsport News International