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Barrichello wins karting marathon 16 Nov 2004

The winning team (L to R): Tony Kanaan (BRA), Dan Wheldon (GBR), Felipe Giaffone (BRA) and Rubens Barrichello (BRA) on the podium. Granja Viana 500 Kart Race, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 14 November 2004. World © Sutton

A home Grand Prix victory may have again eluded Rubens Barrichello this season, but he was on top of the podium in Brazil at the weekend when he won the Granja Viana 500 Mile kart race.

It was the fifth time in eight outings that Barrichello has triumphed in the annual Sao Paulo event. This year he again teamed up with old pal and reigning IRL champion Tony Kanaan, along with IRL stars Dan Wheldon and Felipe Giaffone.

After 644 laps and more than ten and a half hours of fierce racing, Barrichello’s four-man squad took the chequered flag just 15 seconds ahead of another all-star team comprising Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran, Osvaldo Negri Jr and 1998 karting world champion Ruben Carrapatosa.

Barrichello grabbed pole in Friday’s Formula One style qualifying session, but was then forced to pit early in the race with brake trouble, helping the Castroneves team, who started only 53rd, to close the gap with some superb driving from Carratoposa. In the end though, it wasn’t quite enough.

“We faced some initial problems, but we could manage to overcome them,” said a joyful Barrichello afterwards. “I have to thank my fellows. They did a very good job and achieved a well-deserved victory. I think we had two great moments this weekend. Setting the pole on a single lap for each of the 10 top qualifiers was also superb.”

Other Formula One racing names taking part included Felipe Massa, Luciano Burti and Juan Pablo Montoya, who was competing with his younger brother Federico. All, however, retired from the race with mechanical problems.