Bia Martins claims maiden podium in the HRacing Cup
The fourth round of the Brazilian touring car series HRacing Cup was marked by Bia Martins' first podium of the season, after a hectic race at Velocittà Circuit.
Last weekend, the Brazilian series HRacing Cup held the fourth round of its debut season on the national scene, and the Velocittà Circuit, in Mogi Guaçu, was the stage for one of the most memorable moments of the year. After completing two recovery races and climbing the field to reach the points in the previous rounds, Bia Martins achieved a new personal best and climbed on the podium for the first time in 2023.
This was the first time the series had been to a different location - as the Interlagos Circuit had hosted 3 of the 5 scheduled rounds. But a curious fact is that it was precisely at the Velocittà Circuit that Martins made her racing debut in touring cars, when she participated in a round of the Shell HB20 Cup in 2021. Despite the adversities that arose during the weekend - especially the intense heat - Martins managed to make the most of the free practice sessions and performed well, showing that she had better adapted to the car and also to the track conditions.
Bia Martins started race 1, held on the afternoon of September 23rd, in 16th place. In the first corner several drivers went off track and raised dust which obstructed the vision of those behind. Albeit she did not suffer any contact in her HB20 #555 machine, Bia had lost two positions. Nevertheless, she recovered quickly and completed the first lap in 16th position.
At the beginning of lap 3, Martins overtook Mário Delara and moved up to P15; two laps later she reached her best position - P13. In the following laps she had to defend and lost one place, but continued to put pressure on Bruno Massa to regain 13th, eventually managing to do so. However, both were reached by Daniel Coquieri and Matheus Sant'anna, who would battle until the end of the race. Bia Martins crossed the finish line in 15th place overall – 7th among the rookies after a solid performance.
In the second race of the weekend at the Velocittà Circuit, Bia Martins started in the middle of the pack, in 15th position. When the lights went out and the action got underway, she had a brilliant getaway and gained 6 positions in the first corners. But the race was soon stopped when Thiago Lopes was tagged by Samuel Damin and hit the guard rail heavily. The yellow flags were then waved and the safety car deployed, neutralizing the action for another lap.
The race resumed on lap 3 and Bia ended up losing a position, however, the race was under caution again when Savaglia suffered technical issues on his #23 car. After the second restart, Martins was overtaken by Pedro Vilar, but continued to persist in achieving the best possible result, leading an intense battle with Rafael Smozinski and Gustavo Simão. In the end, Bia Martins prevailed and took the checkered flag in 11th position overall - 4th among the rookies, thus achieving her first podium of the season.
"I think every podium we achieve is very exciting and this one, being the first in HRacing, was even more so! Since we were racing on a track where two years ago I raced for the first time in the HB20 Cup, and coincidentally later, on the same track I got my first trophy in touring cars." - said Bia about her achievement.
"We had a lot of work, it was a weekend of ups and downs, we didn't start very well, but it ended in a very good way, so it was very exciting and rewarding too." - she concluded.
"Standing on the podium, winning a race says more about the driver than the gender itself."
We asked her how she feels about becoming the first woman to stand on the podium in the series, which is certainly an inspiration for other young girls:
"I think that just like in any other category, this serves to show that we are there to compete on equal terms", Martins stated. "I'm there because I like it, because I dedicate myself to it. It's part of my job, my profession, and it's not my gender that will say whether or not I can win."
She continued - "And I think that in any category, from karting to formula or touring cars, there need to be these references to inspire us, and know that if that girl can do it, I can too."
Now, there is only one round left until the end of the inaugural season of the HRacing Cup - which will be held at the Ayrton Senna Circuit, in Goiânia, between October 26th and 29th. Bia Martins remains confident in her quest for another appearance on the podium: "Our team performed excellently, and now we can only celebrate today's achievement. I hope that, in Goiâna, we can achieve another podium and improve our results.”