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Massa and di Grassi win Granja Viana 500

NEWS STORY
06/12/2009

Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Renault third driver Lucas di Grassi have won the 2009 running of the Granja Viana 500 mile race.

The Formula 1 duo was joined in the Brazilian endurance race by Stock Car Light frontrunner Julio Campos, who partnered Massa on his maiden victory in the event back in 1997. After almost 11 hours of action, Massa crossed the start-finish line ahead of former BAR and Toyota driver Ricardo Zonta who led the Techspeed squad to second spot, beating Rubens Barrichello's team by less than 10 seconds.

Massa and his teammates cruised to a deserved and easy victory from lights to flag. Pole-sitter Bruno Junqueira lost some time in the Le Mans-style start and was passed by Massa before the first turn. The Ferrari driver dropped to third in the early stages, but soon was able to regain the lead. From then on, with their kart showing no signs at all of problems, the winners only conceded the lead during the mandatory 15-minute pit stop.

"I think we got what we deserved, as we took the lead right from the start. We could manage to set up a strong team, which pace all over the race was quite similar. I have to thank our team manager Renato Marlia, who gave us a perfect kart, and my mates Di Grassi and Campos. They did very well, saving the equipment and not putting a wheel wrong during the entire race", said Massa.

The 2008 F1 championship runner-up offered the victory to his newly-born son, Felipinho. "I did not plan to do anything for him with much advance, because these things usually don't work as you imagine. Towards the end of the race, however, I started thinking on how to show my love for him. This victory is totally dedicated to my little son."

Massa has been experiencing a fantastic end to the year after the serious injuries suffered during qualifying for the Hungarian GP in July. "I spent a huge amount of time in front of my TV set, just watching Formula 1 and dreaming about the moment to comeback. This has been a nice recovery, with my victory in the second heat of the International Challenge of Go-Kart Champions last week in Florianopolis and now with this result at Granja Viana, an ever-challenging long and tough competition."

Granja Viana 500 Mile Top 10 finishers

1: Felipe Massa, Lucas di Grassi and Julio Campos - 644 laps (10hrs 58:17.642)

2: Leonardo Nienkotter, Ricardo Zonta, Andre Nicastro, Francesco Ventre, Eduardo Dieter and Guilherme Silva - 642 laps

3: Rubens Barrichello, Tony Kanaan, Felipe Giaffone, Renato Russo and Osvaldo Negri - 642 laps

4: Nelsinho Stanisci, Jefferson Muccio, Sebe Malucelli, Alan Siedell, Allan Syrthes, Victor Calman and Arthur Guilherme - 640 laps

5: Onassis de Souza, Denis Dirani, Sergio Jimenez and Andre Matinha - 639 laps

6: Vinicius de Souza, Andre Matinha and Fabio Orsolon - 639 laps

7: Luiz Cordeiro Filho, Yan Cunha and Igor Veras - 639 laps

8: Rodrigo Stephani, Yuri Alves, Fernando Carvalho and Joel Mendes Jr. - 638 laps

9: Marcelo Monteiro, Marcelo Oliveira, Henrique Lambert and Jelson Teixeira - 637 laps

10: Felipes Apezzatto, Felipe Lapenna, Galid Osman, Victor Guerin and Dudu Massa - 636 laps

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