Interlagos had packed grandstands this Sunday morning in São Paulo to watch the Million Reais Race, Brazilian V8 Stock Cars seventh round. A beautiful and warm sunny day welcomed the crowd to see Felipe Fraga join the hall of millionaires after an incontestable victory standing next to Valdeno Brito (2008), Ricardo Maurício (2010), Thiago Camilo (2011, 2012 and 2015), and Rubens Barrichello (2014).
With the right strategy regarding the push-to-pass button, Fraga went on to surprise pole sitter Rubens Barrichello on lap four taking the lead and holding it to the chequered flag.
"The team went through the night building a strategy to optimize the push-to-pass use. I think we got it right, because Barrichello fell on our trap and I could manage to overtake him", Fraga explained.
There were nine actuations of the ‘overtaking button’; and each one could be used after a 60-second interval. The system had a 12-sec delay after engaging, delivering over 80 hp during 45 seconds. Fraga’s strategy was to ‘waste’ one of them engaging it in the slower part of the circuit, so the next lap he could use it on the opposite straight, giving no option to his opponent to defend himself or try to regain the position.
"I have chosen not to fight in the beginning because Júlio Campos and Ricardo Zonta were catching us, so I had to create a space and then try to attack. I saved tires and when I engaged the push-to-pass I was already on the limit, but braking into turn I locked the wheels. However, Felipe drove a fantastic race, like a veteran, like a champion who deserves the million", stated Rubens Barrichello.
The 20-year old won a big prize: besides getting a million reais richer, Felipe Fraga extended his championship lead to 33 points, having seen his teammate and current champion Marcos Gomes out of the race on the first lap. Gomes dropped to sixth place in the standings, opening the path to the rise of Max Wilson (P4) to second, Rubens Barrichello (P2) to third, and Valdeno Brito (P3) to fourth and Daniel Serra (P8) to fifth.
"It still didn’t click. This race is so cool. It is special. When I crossed the finish line I couldn’t believe it was happening in my life. Winning the race, a million reais, with all the repercussion it brings, lots of people watching, and gaining even more advantage in the championship… I am beyond happy", Fraga declared.
Brazilian V8 Stock Cars’ next meeting happens in Londrina, Paraná, for the eight round, back in the double-header format, on September 25th.
MILLION REAIS RACE - Results:
1-) 88 Felipe Fraga (Cimed Racing) - 28 laps in 47min16s057 (153,3 kph)
2-) 111 Rubens Barrichello (Full Time Sports) - 0s411
3-) 77 Valdeno Brito (TMG Racing) - 5s180
4-) 65 Max Wilson (Eurofarma RC) Racing) - 24s367
5-) 18 Allam Khodair (Full Time Sports) - 11s732
6-) 70 Diego Nunes (União Química Racing) - 14s078
7-) 4 Julio Campos (C2 Axalta Racing) - 18s585
8-) 29 Daniel Serra (Red Bull Racing) - 22s508
9-) 83 Gabriel Casagrande (C2 Axalta g Team) - 38s496
10-) 46 Vitor Genz (Eisenbahn Racing Team) - 10s972
11-) 110 Felipe Lapenna (Hot Car Competições) - 38s542
12-) 26 Raphael Abbate (Hot Car Competições) - 43s129
13-) 3 Bia Figueiredo (União Química Racing) - 44s248
14-) 28 Galid Osman (Ipiranga-RCM) - 50s220
15-) 56 Danilo Dirani (RZ Motorsport) - 51s136
16-) 63 Nestor Girolami (Eisenbahn Racing Team) - 53s831
17-) 21 Thiago Camilo (Ipiranga-RCM) - a 1 lap
18-) 0 Cacá Bueno (Red Bull Racing) - a 2 laps
19-) 73 Sergio Jimenez (Cavaleiro Sports) - a 2 laps
20-) 51 Átila Abreu (Shell Racing) - a 2 laps
21-) 11 Cesar Ramos (RZ Motorsport) - a 5 laps
22-) 10 Ricardo Zonta (Shell Racing) - a 6 laps
23-) 74 Popó Bueno (Cavaleiro Sports) - a 6 laps
DID NOT FINISH
24-) 8 Rafael Suzuki (Vogel Motorsport) - a 16 laps
25-) 9 Guga Lima (TMG Racing) - a 24 laps
26-) 12 Lucas Foresti (Full Time-ProGP) - a 24 laps
27-) 5 Denis Navarro (Vogel Motorsport) - a 25 laps
28-) 80 Marcos Gomes (Cimed Racing) - a 27 laps
29-) 90 Ricardo Mauricio (Eurofarma RC) - excluded
FASTEST LAP: Julio Campos, 1min40s066 (155,2 kph)