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Antonella Bassani takes third win of the season, her first in Interlagos

Porsche Cup Brazil's reigning champion Antonella Bassani has kicked off her sophomore campaign in the one-make series in spectacular fashion, as the driver – who has just turned 18 – collected her third victory out of three rounds.

Antonella Bassani, Porsche Cup Brazil, Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, 2024 Interlagos
Photo credits: Porsche Cup Brazil

Porsche Cup Brasil reigning champion Antonella Bassani continues to impress in the one-make series, where she collected her third win of the season in just as many rounds.

Making her return to Interlagos – where she had made her GT racing debut last year – the teenager bounced back from a challenging qualifying to score her first victory at the home of the Brazilian GP, topping her result on Saturday where she charged through the field to claim a fourth place from 11th on the grid.

One of the most promising female young talents in sports cars in the world, Antonella Bassani has taken the Porsche Cup Brazil championship by storm in her rookie season, and is currently on a mission to confirm herself at the top.

Coming off an unfortunate end to the Velocitta weekend – where she claimed another victory in race 1 but was forced to retire from race 2 after a multiple car accident at the start – Bassani was aiming to score big points in Interlagos, one year after her debut in the series.

On her first ever racing weekend in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, Antonella had in fact already offered a glimpse of her talent, scoring a fourth place after a stellar recovery.

And at Interlagos, the star from Santa Caterina – who has recently turned 18 – wanted to add a victory at the legendary track to her resumé. In honor of the 50 years' anniversary of her sponsor Mobil 1, Bassani sported a black and gold special livery, as part of a global campaign for the brand.

“Before I even accelerated for the first time, when I saw the car with the new livery, I was already very motivated", Bassani commented on Thursday. "It's really cool to see this special painting celebrating Mobil's 50th anniversary. It's a livery that means a lot and in Europe I had already seen some cars with these colors."

"Here we didn't have it yet, so I'm very happy to be the first to accelerate with these colours. Mobil is a reference brand, not only in Brazil, but throughout the world. And it's a source of pride to carry these colors in the Porsche Cup."

Bassani progressively built speed in the practice sessions on Thursday and Friday, where she immediately saw potential for the remainder of the weekend: "I could see that we have great potential for the weekend and, who knows, get my first victory at Interlagos", she added.

"We set a very good lap time considering the condition of the tires and now we have to focus on the rest of the weekend, do good free practice, to compete well on Saturday and Sunday.”

A 50kg ballast, though, would make her job a bit harder in qualifying and, with a 1:40.362 lap, she just missed out on a top ten to advance into the second session – which eventually saw Miguel Mariotti scoring pole position. Bassani, though, mentioned that with a few setup changes, she would be back in contention. And that's exactly what happened.

Antonella Bassani, Porsche Cup Brazil, Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, 2024 Interlagos
Photo credits: Porsche Cup Brazil

Miguel Mariotti defended the inside line at the start of race 1 on Saturday, as Leonardo Herrmann tried around the outside but had to slot behind after the first corners; a big accident at turn 4 for Marco Tulio and Lucas Locatelli soon required the intervention of the safety car.

Bassani meanwhile had tried to keep it clean in the busy midfield and had retained 11th position before the neutralization. Mariotti accelerated away with 17 minutes to go at the restart and Bassani was on the move: she gained one position at turn 1, then passed Claudio Simao with another clean move into turn 4. The reigning champion cleared Sangho Kim before the end of the lap as well – then closed the gap to the group of cars ahead in a heartbeat.

A few corners later she had already passed Seba Malucelli in a three-wide battle, and continued to put pressure on Célio Brasil for sixth place. It took her one lap to demote him; having set the new fastest lap of the race in 1:40.661, Bassani was all over the back of Sadak Leite with 11 minutes to go – as the race leaders Miguel Mariotti and Leonardo Herrmann battled for first place, three seconds clear of the second pack.

Matheus Roque was next in Antonella's target and by lap 8 she was already up to fifth.

Unstoppable, Bassani started to put pressure on Caio Castro and, after a couple of laps of hard defense from her rival, she completed a stunning pass under braking at turn 4 with 3 minutes to go, grabbing fourth place.

Sadak Leite, though, was now over four seconds ahead – as he had caught up with Mariotti and Herrmann as well. Antonella was half a second faster and significantly reduced the gap – but eventually ran out of time to catch the leading trio, as Miguel Mariotti crossed the finish line to take victory in race 1, ahead of Herrmann and Leite. From eleventh on the grid, Antonella Bassani gained seven places – the most of everyone on the grid – and scored good points with fourth place, also recording the fastest lap of the race.

Antonella Bassani, Porsche Cup Brazil, Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, 2024 Interlagos
Photo credits: Porsche Cup Brazil

On Sunday afternoon, Bassani had now the chance to try climbing the podium at Brazil's most famous racetrack. Matheus Roque shared the front row of the grid with Célio Brasil, ahead of Antonella Bassani and Sadak Leite on the second row.

The pack was misaligned and therefore the green flag was postponed by one lap; on the second attempt, Antonella Bassani was the protagonist of an outstanding start and, in one of her trademark starts, she dived on the inside and passed both Célio Brasil and pole-sitter Roque. Miguel Mariotti also got off to a strong start, jumping from sixth to third.

At the end of the first lap, the reigning champion was leading, followed by Brasil, Mariotti, Roque and Leonardo Herrmann. On lap 3, though, the safety car was deployed to remove a car stricken car in the run-off. Bassani led the restart comfortably from Celio Brasil and Miguel Mariotti, while multiple cars went around at the S do Senna behind them.

Antonella soon set the fastest lap of the race in 1:40.956 and opened a small gap to her closest pursuer – then continued to chip away lap after lap. With Mariotti, Roque and Herrmann fighting for the final step of the podium, that gave the top two the chance to break away – although Mariotti could close in on Célio Brasil once again.

Unchallenged, Antonella Bassani continued to log incredibly fast laps, almost one second per lap faster than anyone. Unfortunately, her margin was wiped away when Célio Brasil and Miguel Mariotti collided when battling for second place into turn 4. Mariotti was out of the race with five minutes left on the clock – but Antonella would have to survive the final restart.

She perfectly managed the restart, but Brasil and Roque put on a fight in the final minutes of the race. With a strong lap, Bassani put a second in between second-placed Brasil as she started the final lap of the race. An accident for Sadak Leite on the main straight brought out local yellow flags – but it was not an issue for Bassani, who crossed the finish line to take her first victory at Interlagos, on the circuit where she had made her GT racing debut just one year prior.

“My first victory at Interlagos was special!", Antonella commented. "Every driver dreams of winning a race here and it made me very excited to achieve this. The practice sessions weren't what we expected, we qualified in 11th position yesterday, but I knew the race pace was very good and we managed to prove that."

"Yesterday we started from P11 and finished in P4, today from P3 to P1 on the first lap. I saw that Mariotti retired and that will balance the championship, as I also had a retirement at Velocitta and now we are more alive than ever in the title race.”

The Porsche Brasil Cup will now contest a double-header in Estoril, Portugal, in June.

The trip to Portugal will be the first overseas event for the series.

Antonella Bassani, Porsche Cup Brazil, Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, 2024 Interlagos
Photo credits: Porsche Cup Brazil



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