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Massa back to winning form on race return 30 Nov 2009

Ferrari's Felipe Massa celebrates victory, International Challenge of the Stars karting event, Florianopolis, Brazil, Sunday November 29, 2009. © Ferrari. Ferrari's Felipe Massa celebrates his victory on the podium alongside Michael Schumacher and Vitor Meira, International Challenge of the Stars karting event, Florianopolis, Brazil, Sunday November 29, 2009. © Ferrari. Ferrari's Felipe Massa celebrates his victory alongside Michael Schumacher as they cross the finish line, International Challenge of the Stars karting event, Florianopolis, Brazil, Sunday November 29, 2009. © Ferrari. Ferrari's Felipe Massa, International Challenge of the Stars karting event, Florianopolis, Brazil, Sunday November 29, 2009. © Ferrari.

If anyone feared Ferrari’s Felipe Massa may have lost his competitive edge in the accident that fractured his skull and ended his 2009 F1 season prematurely back in July, they were proved wrong over the weekend, as Massa completed his first race outing at his annual International Challenge of the Stars karting event in Brazil.

Not content to simply take part, the Brazilian finished Saturday’s first race at the Florianopolis circuit in third, from 11th on the grid. During Sunday’s second race he went one better, winning from sixth on the grid, ahead of former team mate - and seven-time world champion - Michael Schumacher.

"This was a fantastic event, maybe the most important kart event in the world," Massa exclaimed after the race. "I demonstrated myself to be competitive like before the accident and that makes me happy. I think that if there were still any doubts, today I gave the answer. In the end I had a fierce fight with Michael, who was slightly faster, but I made it."

After notching up a win in Saturday’s opening round and finishing runner-up to Massa on Sunday, Schumacher took the overall honours with 42 points to the Brazilian’s 36.

The German, however, was more pleased with Massa’s excellent return to the track. "It was like in the old days, with Felipe and me on the highest places on the podium," he said. "I'm very happy and proud of him. It was a wonderful race and a beautiful day for all of us who took part."

Indycar driver Vitor Meira finished third in the standings on 26 points. Also in action were 2010 Williams driver Rubens Barrichello, Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi, former Williams’ driver Antonio Pizzonia, 2004 Indycar champion Tony Kanaan, ex-F1 driver Christian Fittipaldi and former Renault driver Nelson Piquet.

Massa is planning another kart outing next weekend at the annual Granja Viana 500 endurance event, which gets underway in Brazil on Friday.