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Antonella Bassani wins again in Porsche Cup Brasil at Velocitta

"I'm leaving with my head held high, very confident and very happy with myself for my performance" - Antonella Bassani secured her second win of the season in just as many rounds in the Porsche Cup Brasil, showing dominant speed despite an accident at the start of race 2 ended her weekend prematurely.


Antonella Bassani, Porsche Cup Brasil
Photo credits: Luca Bassani

Teenager Antonella Bassani returned to the top step of the podium in Porsche Cup Brasil for the second time this year, following another stellar performance at the second round at Velocitta Circuit.


Only in her second year of car racing, Bassani entered the 2024 Porsche Cup Brasil season as the reigning champion, after sealing the title in spectacular fashion at the final round in Interlagos. She had made history on several occasions by becoming the first woman to score podiums, pole positions, victories and eventually being crowned champion - even more impressively in her rookie campaign.


Following two victories in 2023, Bassani kicked off her second year in the series with a win in Goiânia - also the venue of her maiden win last year. The young driver of the #72 Porsche - who is operated by a crew of all female engineers and mechanics, and is coached by former Indycar racer Bia Figueiredo - headed to Velocitta aiming to carry momentum, and indeed she continued to turn heads with yet another outstanding drive on Saturday, where she stunned everyone with a move at the start that eventually secured her the trophy.


The build-up to the race, though, wasn't all plain sailing, as she had to build speed over the practice and qualifying. Albeit only six tenths off the top of the timing sheets, she was eighth fastest in practice, as the whole field proved to be extremely tight.


Bassani found more pace in qualifying and she comfortably made it into the top ten that would allow her to fight for pole position. With five minutes to go, Antonella was on provisional pole - but she couldn't quite improve on the final run, which resulted in a start from fifth on the grid. Her good race pace, though, showed great potential ahead of the two weekend's races at the 3.443 km circuit located in Mogi Guaçu, about 180 km north of São Paulo.


Leonardo Herrmann took pole, ahead of Caio Castro and Miguel Mariotti. The start ended up being the pivotal moment of the race: from the third row, Bassani took the inside line and, with a spectacular maneuver, she moved from fifth to first at turn 1.


Mariotti and Tulio followed, as Herrmann had dropped to fifth after being deep at the first corner. Her sterling first lap gained Bassani over a second in the first lap and she tried to soon open a gap. With a 1:32.112 on lap 3, Bassani set the fastest lap and put two more seconds to her pursuers, but a contact between Herrmann and Mohr brought out the safety car one lap later, as Antonella saw her advantage coming undone.


At the green flag, Bassani had again Mariotti glued to the back of her #72 Porsche; the action, though, was immediately neutralized again when Bertuccelli made heavy contact with the barriers and scattered debris all over the track.


The race could resume with a little less than 7 minutes to go; Antonella had a good restart and Mariotti couldn't challenge the reigning champion, who slowly attempted to rebuild her gap. Behind the leading duo, Marco Tulio had to defend from Gerson Campos and, although he lost a position, made a big save through the grass.


With less than a minute left on the clock, a big accident involving Seba Malucelli and Matheus Roque - who was hit at speed at the end of the straight - triggered another safety car, and two more laps were added to the race distance.


Bassani survived another perfect restart - as Mariotti was under pressure from Campos. This duel allowed Bassani to drive away and she crossed the finish line with the second win of the season, unchallenged in the first race of the weekend.


“It was a difficult race, I managed to win thanks to an exceptional start", Bassani commented. "I didn't imagine so many times that the safety car would be deployed, which is why I had to take so much care with the tyres and the restarts", she explained. "The car was great, I thank the girls for the work that led to my first victory here in Velocitta. Tomorrow we will look for our third victory of the year.”


Antonella Bassani, Porsche Cup Brasil
Photo credits: Luca Bassani

The reverse grid race saw Eric Santos starting from pole, alongside Caio Chaves and Sadak Leite and Caio Castro on the second row. Antonella Bassani would have to make up ground from eighth on the grid in the final race of the weekend at Velocitta after her win on the previous day.


At the green flag the leaders went deep into turn one and Antonella Bassani tried to take the inside line once again - but was first hit once, then a second time and finally a third time when she was collected by drivers trying to rejoin - which resulted in her #72 Porsche ending its race in the run off of the first corner together with Caio Chaves and Eric Santos. The safety car was deployed to clean up the damaged cars. Unfortunately it was the end of Antonella's race, blameless victim of a pile up that was costly for her championship tally.


Miguel Mariotti led the pack at the green flag on lap 3; fastest on track, the leader of the championship pulled away, with Tulio and Castro over 5 seconds down the road. Unchallenged throughout the race and without naturalizations despite a couple of spins through the field, Mariotti took victory in race 2, preceding Marco Tulio and Caio Castro and therefore maximising the circumstances that took out the reigning champion at the start of the race.


"Unfortunately, in the second race I was involved in an accident right at the start, but it was a super positive weekend", Bassani commented. "My race pace was very strong, we had the best lap of the race, and we had a spectacular car, everything was perfect, despite the incident", she continued, thanking her engineers and mechanics for "providing me with a flying car over the weekend."


"I'm leaving with my head held high, very confident and very happy with myself for my performance." - she concluded. "Now it’s time to focus on the Interlagos round, which will take place on April 27th and 28th."


Porsche Cup Brasil will in fact return to the track in two week's time at the home of the Brazilian GP, where Bassani made her series debut with a class podium last year. She currently sits second in the championship standings - and will certainly be aiming to keep climbing the top step of the rostrum.

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