Bia Martins climbs the order during the HRacing Cup round 3
In another drama-filled weekend in the HRacing Cup, the only woman on the grid - Bia Martins - resumed her charge up the field like in the previous rounds of the season.
The new Brazilian touring car competition HRacing Cup - based on the Hyundai HB20 - returned to the track last weekend, again at the Interlagos Circuit in São Paulo. And just like in the previous round, the only woman on the grid - Bia Martins, showed her ability to overcome challenges to collect more points.
Two free practice sessions were held in the morning of Friday July 28th in good weather conditions - unlike the other two rounds, where there was at least one day featuring wet track conditions. Martins could resume her work of adaptation to the car, however, in the afternoon before the qualifying session, her HB20 #555 suffered gearbox issues and the young woman was forced to start from the back of the grid in race 1.
In the previous round, held in June, Bia Martins had to climb the field - due to an incident that took her out of the first race, and which, as a consequence, placed her in P29 for the start of Race 2. On that occasion, the 23-year-old driver did a great job, advancing 14 positions and crossing the finish line in 15th place. Once again last weekend Martins found herself facing another challenge to reach the point scoring zone, as she would start race 1 from 35th on the grid.
The atmosphere was a little peculiar in Interlagos, with the construction of stages in some sectors of the circuit, which will soon host a music festival. Right at the start of the race, a first corner incident forced the marshals to work on the removal of one of the cars involved. Just before the deployment of the safety car, Bia Martins managed to gain a few positions.
At the restart she was in 30th place and continued to advance in the following laps - until on lap 5, when the safety car had to be deployed again for the #34 car stuck in the gravel. The action resumed definitively with 5 laps to go and there were several battles taking place across the grid: in the lead, André Bragantini - from the Super Cup class - remained the leader from start to finish and secured the victory. In the remaining minutes, Martins repeated what she had done in the previous round, charging up the order until she completed the race in 20th position - 8th among the Rookies.
The result obtained the day before allowed Bia Martins to have a bit of an easier job ahead, starting in the middle of the pack in P20 - but some surprises were yet to come. On the second lap she had lost a position, but remained close to the competitors ahead until the two cars that fought for the lead collided at the end of the opposite straight.
Despite the accident, it was not necessary to trigger a caution - as both managed to rejoin the track. In the following laps, Martins lost some positions, but recovered throughout the race. On lap 7 she was already back up to P17.
At the start of lap 9, while battling for positions, Martins ended up hitting the #06 car - which managed to continue. Bia also kept it on track, but with damage to the front bumper of her HB20 #555. Even with her performance compromised by the damage, she continued to fight for better positions and finished the race in a hugely positive 13th place overall - P7 among the Rookies.
After the race, Bia Martins evaluated her performance and highlighted the progress in her adaptation work - which is her main goal in her debut season in touring car racing:
"It's really been a learning year because I've only raced this car once before. In each round we have been evolving, both in times and in racing experience, and it has been very good."
"What I always hear from the team is: 'enjoy the process'. So there's no way to skip it, so I've been doing it in fact."
Yet, she does not hide that she keeps looking for better and better results on track: "For me, coming from karting, it's a completely different thing, the driving style... so I need to 'turn the switch' when I'm here", she explained. "I'm happy, but not satisfied with the results. I'll only be - happy - when I win, of course! But we are looking for evolution every day!"
Speaking about the incident in race 2, she clarified: "It was a racing thing. It's not my nature to drive hitting anybody. Anyone who has run with me knows this."
"But there we were in the battle, between the three and that's when I saw the opportunity and thought I could overtake, but it wasn't enough, and contact ended up happening. It was a racing thing, it wasn't on purpose, of course." - she concluded.
Now, the HRacing Cup will have a break before returning on September 24th, at the Velocitta Circuit - which will host the 4th round of the season.