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Barrichello, Massa beaten in Granja Viana 04 Dec 2006

Felipe Massa at the 2006 Granja Viana 500 Mile karting event, 3rd December 2006. © MF2 – Serviços Jornalísticos Ltda.

Formula One drivers Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa struggled during Sunday’s Granja Viana endurance karting event. It was the tenth running of the annual 500-mile race, which takes place in Sao Paolo and regularly attracts Brazil’s biggest motorsport names.

Barrichello, despite leading the winning team on six previous occasions, finished in second, two laps down on the victorious squad led by 15-year old Otavio Bonder and his team mates Antonio Ventre, Jose Eduardo Ventre, Bruno Pacetti and Lucas Rodrigues. Barrichello’s team, which also featured CART driver Tony Kanaan, narrowly bettered that of former Jaguar and Prost driver Luciano Burti, which eventually finished in third after the team’s kart stopped with 10 laps to go.

“We’ve got to celebrate - our kart was not as quick as the ones driven by the drivers that arrived in front of us and even some that we happen to get passed,” explained Barrichello. “We faced problems with a poor engine all the time.”

Massa finished down in 69th despite clinching pole position during Saturday’s qualifying session. Although the Ferrari driver lost the lead at the start, he was enjoying a strong drive in second for the first hour before colliding with another runner. The accident left Massa’s kart with a broken axle and after 30 laps spent fruitlessly in the pits he rejoined the race. The Brazilian was replaced in turn by team mates Joao Paulo Bertuccelli, Ruben Carrapatoso and Rafael Derani, but a third engine failure saw the team retire.

“There was nothing I could do,” said Massa, who won the inaugural Granja Viana back in 1997. “When I realized, the guy just a few metres ahead. It was a shame, because our pace was quite good and we were capable of finishing in the top three positions.”

Nelson Piquet Jr, meanwhile, competed with two teams, which finished ninth and 15th respectively, whilst fellow Renault tester Ricardo Zonta crossed the line in 32nd with his team.