Brazil thrilled to end podium drought
|By Matt Beer||Sunday, February 22nd 2009, 17:44 GMT|
Brazil team boss Emerson Fittipaldi said he was extremely proud of driver Felipe Guimaraes after the 17-year-old took his team's first podium in 23 races at Kyalami today.
Guimaraes came from eighth on the grid to take second place in the feature race, despite slowing with fuel pressure problems in the closing stages. The result was a surprise after he had crashed in qualifying yesterday, and was only his second points finish in the series.
"I'm so happy and excited and I think Felipe has a great future," said double world champion Fittipaldi.
"The team made an incredible recovery from the qualifying crash and Felipe did a fantastic job and his mind was focused. He was running with the leader when he has the fuel pressure problem at the end but we still finished second. I'm really proud of Felipe and the whole team."
The inexperienced Guimaraes, who moved from karts to South American Formula 3 in 2007 and then raced in the Euro 3000 series last year, became Brazil's lead driver for the 2008/9 A1GP season after occasional rookie appearances during the previous year.
"I'm really happy with the result," he said. "Yesterday I had the big crash in qualifying and I didn't think that today I would finish on the podium. But I had a great start then during the race the car was good.
"It was a bit worrying at the end because the engine was losing power and it was just going but we managed to keep going to the finish, thankfully. I was pushing hard but not taking any risks and we brought it home in second. I really wanted to do a good job today and I have."
Brazil won the first ever A1GP races with Nelson Piquet at Brands Hatch in 2005, but have not taken a single victory since then. Although they scored three further podiums with Piquet later that year, Sergio Jimenez's third place at Sepang in 2007 was their only top three finish between Piquet leaving the squad in January 2006 and Guimaraes's Kyalami result today.