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Barrichello, Massa set to battle for Granja Viana glory
4 December 2009
Brazilian F1 stars Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa are once more the hot favourites for this year's edition of the Granja Viana 500 kart race, with particular attention falling on the current Ferrari star as he continues to recover from the injuries he suffered in qualifying for July's Hungarian Grand Prix.
The race, the most prestigious end-of-season event attended by the stars of F1 and other major international series, takes place at the Kartodromo Internacional Granja Viana near São Paulo on Saturday, and is scheduled to last for 644 laps or a maximum of eleven hours. Once again, Barrichello and Massa headline the stars on show, with the erstwhile Brawn GP driver again captaining the biggest 'all-star' line-up.
Already in possession of a record eight Granja Viana victories, the most capped F1 driver of all time will lead the 'dream team' of Tony Kanaan, Felipe Giaffone and kart legend-turned-stock car ace Renato Russo, while Massa - who last weekend won a leg of his own 'Race of International Champions' event - will line up alongside Renault F1 reserve driver Lucas di Grassi and Brazilian Stock Car Lights frontrunners Júlio Campos and Felipe Lapenna. Massa and Campos raced together in their victory in the inaugural edition of the event back in 1997, while he and Barrichello teamed up for one of the veteran's victories, in 2002.
Vítor Meira, Ricardo Zonta, Christian Fittipaldi, Mário Haberfeld, Sérgio Jimenez, Marcos Gomes, Thiago Camilo, Osvaldo Negri, Raphael Matos, Bruno Junqueira and special guests from the USA Marco Andretti, Memo Gidley and Wayne Taylor are among the other experienced drivers that will be a part of the 200-strong entry this weekend, while South African model Brittany Vorster will share the #19 kart with local young guns Raphael Raucci, Bruno Leon, Bruno Grigatti and Carlos Murari prior to her expected début in the Sudam F3 series in 2010.
Massa led the final free practice on Friday morning with a time of 57.892secs, edging Barrichello by the narrow margin of one tenth. Qualifying will define the grid positions on Saturday morning.