Antonella Bassani takes maiden historic victory in Porsche Cup Brasil
"This is to prove that a woman's place is wherever she wants to be" - 17-year-old Antonella Bassani took a historic victory in Porsche Cup Brasil at Goiânia, in yet another spectacular weekend for the GT rookie.
17 year old Antonella Bassani is emerging as one of the brightest and more promising talents in GT racing, having impressed straight from her first ever weekend in a race car.
The young Brazilian - who is mentored by Bia Figueiredo - has been a finalist of the FIA Girls on Track - Rising Stars programme, before continuing her karting career on home soil.
After a one-off appearance in TCR alongside Figueiredo herself, Bassani was selected as part of the new Young Racing Academy program - an initiative designed to be the first stage of a potential selection within the Porsche Junior Program.
Antonella was then entered in the Porsche Cup Brazil, effectively making her GT racing debut in the Sprint Challenge category. At her first weekend - on the challenging Interlagos circuit - Bassani stunned everyone with a class podium and a fourth place overall, following charging drives.
But that was only the first step: at the second round, Bassani scored a historic pole position and went on to claim an overall podium and a fastest lap at Velo Città - becoming the first woman to do so in the series.
The next natural step would be her first win - and it was clear it was only a matter of time.
Coming up next was the double header at Autódromo Internacional Ayrton Senna in Goiânia - and Bassani delivered once again.
A difficult qualifying - where the young driver was only ninth - did not stop Bassani from completing one of her spectacular charges in race 1, where she showed once again great pace and racecraft.
From pole position, Cristian Mohr held the lead at the start, while Marcelo Tomasoni moved up from fifth to second, followed by Josimar Junior, who lost one place at the start from the front row. Antonella Bassani was immediately on a mission and, by lap 4, she was already up to fifth place, having completed a great move on Mariotti. On the following lap, she tried the same maneuver on Campos, but the latter defended.
Bassani, though, continued to put pressure on Campos, who eventually made a mistake and spun, rejoining in tenth place. Now up to fourth, Bassani already had Josimar Junior in her target.
He would also fall victim to Bassani's pressure, going off track at turn 1 and losing out third place to the 17 year old talent.
Ahead, Marcelo Tomasoni was closing in on Cristian Mohr; the gap was under one second on lap 14, but Mohr responded and crossed the finish line to take his first win of the season.
Having gained six positions, Bassani was third at the chequered flag - which would have meant a great amount of points for the championship.
Five hours later, though, the classification of race 1 was shuffled by a series of penalties across the field: Antonella Bassani would receive a 20 second time penalty that demoted her to sixth. Despite the disappointment of having lost the podium, the new order meant that she would start from pole position in race 2 on Sunday.
With her speed, a start from the front row was the perfect chance to secure her first win of the season. Antonella had a flawless start and held the lead into the fast left hander, while Campos and Malucelli went off towards the back of the pack, triggering the safety car. Second on the grid, Sadak Leite lost 5 positions and dropped to seventh, while Miguel Mariotti was up to second place - and Bassani's closest pursuer after the first lap.
The race was back to green just one lap later: Bassani defended the inside and kept Mariotti at bay. Antonella set the fastest lap - and then further improved, opening a 1.5 second gap to Mariotti, who battled with Josimar Junior for second. The latter made a mistake and went off track, picking up damage to the rear wing.
This battle was helpful for Bassani, as she continued to extend her advantage. Championship leader Marcelo Tomasoni managed to move up to second on lap 8. when Bassani was already 5 seconds up the road.
Antonio Junqueira was also making up positions, but in the last 10 minutes of racing nobody could catch up with new star of the series Antonella Bassani, who managed the gap without taking risks and crossed the finish line - making history in Porsche Carrera Cup Brazil.
By becoming the fifth race winner in six races, Antonella Bassani in fact became the first ever woman to win in the championship - and she did so at only her third race weekend in a GT3 car, in her first full season of car racing after karting.
“I still have no idea how much this means", said a shocked Bassani. "At Velocitta I had the first pole for a woman in the Porsche Cup Brazil and now a victory", she continued. "This is to prove that a woman's place is wherever she wants to be."
"It was a very fought race, the start was important to then manage this victory from the lead", Bassani concluded, as she now moved up to third place in the championship standings, with 111 points and only 28 points from the leader Marcelo Tomasoni.
The Porsche Cup Brazil season will resume on 15/16 July, with another round at Interlagos.