There will be a distinct feel of Maranello about the latest edition of Felipe Massa's charity karting event, with both Ferrari favourite Fernando Alonso and protégé Jules Bianchi scheduled to attend.
Despite taking place a little later than the 2011 event – and creating more than a twelve month gap between runnings – Massa has been able to attract another high class field, led by the Brazilian and team-mate Alonso, but containing no fewer than a dozen other drivers with F1 experience. Throw in GP2's Felipe Nasr, Indycar's Bia Figueiredo and Vitor Meira, as well as a handful of Brazilian national stars and export Joao Paulo de Oliveira, who is currently starring in Japan, and the event has every chance of living up to earlier editions, which were won by the likes of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher.
Figueiredo is a previous race winner at the event, while reigning 'champion' Jaime Alguersuari heads the list of other F1 drivers, which also includes Bianchi, Bruno Senna, Kamui Kobayashi, Tonio Liuzzi, Sebastien Buemi, Lucas di Grassi, Nelson Piquet Jr, Antonio Pizzonia, Ricardo Zonta, Luciano Burti and Enrique Bernoldi. Pastor Maldonado is also reported to be considering a return after featuring in the 2011 event, although the 26-kart entry already appears full.
The event, in which the Fittipaldi family is represented by 16-year old stock car aspirant Pietro, takes place over 11-13 January at the Kartódromo do Balneário de Penha, with two races to decide the overall winner taking place on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. It is the eighth edition of a tradition which started back in 2006 with Massa taking on the likes of Barrichello, Jean Alesi and Tony Kanaan. The full list of previous winners includes Daniel Serra (2005), Massa (2006), Schumacher (2007/2009), Barrichello (2008), di Grassi (2010) and Alguersuari (2011).
Live timing from the Desafio Internacional des Estrelas can be accessed [HERE