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Antonella Bassani wins in Porsche Cup Brazil opener in Goiânia

"I dedicate this victory to all women for our day this week" - Antonella Bassani had no rivals in Goiânia on Sunday and took a dominant victory to start her second season in the Porsche Cup Brazil with the clear aim to defend the title.

Antonella Bassani, Porsche Cup Brazil, Goiania, 2024
Photo credits: Porsche Cup Brasil

Antonella Bassani kicked off her second season in Porsche Cup Brazil with a spectacular victory in race 2 at Goiânia, home of the inaugural round of the 2024 season of the highly competitive Brazilian one make series.

The teenager from Santa Catarina - who is just entering her second full time season in car racing and is doing so as the reigning champion after a jaw-dropping debut in 2023 - battled at the top in both races, but a technical issue dropped her to fifth on Saturday, before claiming a dominant win on Sunday which confirmed the first ever female series champion as the driver to beat.

Bassani, one of the 2020 FIA Girls On Track finalists with current F1 Academy drivers Doriane Pin and Maya Weug, previously raced at the top of Brazilian karting, before making her full time car debut in 2023, under the mentorship of former Indycar racer Bia Figueiredo. Bassani claimed podiums, pole positions and two victories - the first one coming at Goiânia - en route to a historic title under the eyes of the F1 Brazilian GP audience at Interlagos.

The reigning champion returns for a second year in the Sprint Challenge class of Porsche Cup Brazil to defend her title - this time in a fully female team, as Antonella will share the garage with series newcomer and world-famous skateboarder Leticia Bufoni.

Bassani will drive again the #72 Mobil 1 sponsored Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car - with a crew made up entirely of female engineers and mechanics.

"It's something very special for me to be here opening my second season in the category, even more so on International Women's Day" - Bassani commented ahead of the first round of the season. "Making my debut in the category last year was something very important for my career and ending the year with the title was exceptional."

"Now we start the journey with our minds set on competing for the championship, as I already know my potential based on what we present in 2023", she continued. "My goal is to be better at everything I can, I feel like I started performing even better than the day I won here in Goiânia last season. Debuting on our day will be incredible and you can be sure that if victory comes, it will be for all of us women.”

Antonella Bassani, Porsche Cup Brazil, Goiania, 2024
Photo credits: Rafael Gagliano Fotografia

In practice, Bassani was fifth fastest in a session ended by a red flag with 5 minutes to go that prevented her from improving in the final stages.

In qualifying, Antonella was fourth fastest and thus comfortably made the cut for the second session that would set the grid for the top ten. She set the early pace after the first run, with a 1:26.424 lap - but in the final run it would be Miguel Mariotti to snatch pole position, with a 1:25.937 that relegated Bassani to fourth place, a little over 4 tenths down.

From the second row of the grid, Antonella Bassani had a stellar start to the first race of the 2024 season, but the four-wide battle for the lead eventually saw the series champion having to settle for fifth place as she had taken the outside line at turn 1, as the rain was starting to fall. Antonella soon moved up to fourth place as she cleared Gerson Campos, then closed in on the top three just ahead - as a few drivers hit trouble due to the tricky slippery conditions.

A contact just ahead between Sadak Leite and Cristian Mohr allowed Bassani to seize the opportunity to claim second one lap later, just as the rain intensified. While Antonella initially had to defend from Caio Castro, she was back up to speed and tried to hunt down the race leader Mariotti - before the safety car was deployed to recover several cars that had slid off the track.

The neutralization played in favour of Castro, who had a great reaction at the green flag, fired into second place and started to put pressure on Mariotti - although Bassani was right on their tails, ready to pick up the pieces.

The battle for the lead heated up with 3 laps to go, as the leading trio was separated by tenths of a second. Castro tried to go around the outside at turn 1, but couldn't out-brake Mariotti - and then had to keep Bassani at bay. On the final lap, Bassani slowed down for a gearbox issue and dropped to sixth, in a dramatic development that denied her a deserved podium finish in the opening race of the season.

Miguel Mariotti took a convincing victory, ahead of Caio Castro and Sadak Leite. Bassani managed to get across the line in sixth place - then converted to fifth following penalties - still scoring good points for the championship.

"Happy with my performance in the race, but the car had some alarms and with 2 laps to go", she explained. "I had problems with the gearbox which took me out of the fight for victory."

Antonella Bassani, Porsche Cup Brazil, Goiania, 2024
Photo credits: Luca Bassani

With the reverse grid format, Antonella lined up from the fourth grid slot on Sunday, on a now dry track after previous showers in the morning.

It was another spectacular start for the young star, who took again the outside line - but was this time able to overtake two cars into turn 1, than fired into the lead with a brilliant move that saw the driver of the #72 Porsche opening an almost a one second gap on the first lap, ahead of Caio Castro and Célio Brasil.

Castro and Brasil, though, remained close behind as the leading trio pulled away. Bassani was marginally faster and gave her rivals no space in the first laps - also setting the fastest lap in the process in 1:27.000. One lap later, though, Castro made an opportunistic move stick when Bassani encountered traffic from a lapped car and snatched the lead with 14 minutes to go.

The two battled for the win until Castro went deep into turn 1 and Bassani was firmly back ahead - now 1.1 seconds clear of Brasil and Leite. Race 1 winner Miguel Mariotti, though, pulled off a great recovery and passed both Leite and Brasil for second place on lap 10, then attempted to chase Bassani. Mariotti gained a couple of tenths - but Bassani managed her gap and kept it over the one second margin.

On the long run, Bassani stretched her legs and extended her gap to 2 seconds, as the top-2 had cleared the rest of the field. The 2023 Porsche Cup Brazil champion and history maker had no rivals in the second Goiânia race and took a dominant victory to start her second season in the championship. It was her third victory in the series.

“It was certainly more difficult than my victory here last year", she said. "Driving with very used tyres is very complicated here. I dedicate this victory to all women for our day this week. I also congratulate my entire team for their work, starting off on the right foot is very good and now we are looking to defend the title.”

The second round of the Porsche Cup Brazil will be held on the first weekend of April, at the Velocitta circuit.



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