After the dual race in Goiânia and another in Ribeirão Preto’s street circuit, Stock Car opens this weekend its “regular” schedule in Velopark Speedway, in Nova Santa Rita, a small town located in Porto Alegre’s metropolitan area. We say regular because it is a permanent track, but it is unique in its characteristics. With only 2,278 meters long, it is the only track where a pilot’s best time may come after a “dirty” lap, even if he can’t set his fastest mark in any of the four sections timed.
Last year’s pole and defeated in the race due to the explosion of a brake disc when he was leading by a large margin, Júlio Campos, from the state of Paraná, has the explanation for that phenomenon. “The partials are rather short, as well as the differences between each driver. Therefore, it may really happen that you will time your best lap with the timing of the sections in white, not green as it is common in other circuits,” says the Prati-Donaduzzi Team’s driver, who came to the South in third place with 29 points and dreaming of unseating leader Cacá Bueno (Red Bull), only four points ahead.
Campos shone in last year’s qualifying, recording the two best laps in an extremely disputed session, in which the top eight were separated by just over a tenth of a second. The lap which earned him the pole was established in 53s701, at the hourly average of 152.71 km. The secret for the successful setup would be used as a basis from the opening of this Friday’s free practices. “The difference to the previous race is the Pirelli tires, which were modified compared to 2014,” says Uruguayan Juan Carlos “Mico” Lopez, Prati-Donaduzzi team’s technical director.
“Mico” sees the first round of the schedule in Rio Grande do Sul as a real opportunity to start the car’s development work. “So far, we had the collective practices in Curitiba, on a track where we have always had problems, the Goiânia race, which most of it was dedicated to the adaptation of the wildcard pilots Bruno Senna and Nicolas Prost, and Ribeirão Preto, marked by the climatic instability - they rain kept coming and going for the whole weekend. We did very well here in the Velopark last time, and now we have to see how the car behaves here, with this year’s tires,” he explained.
The Country’s southern airs seem to do well to Prati-Donaduzzi. In addition to Campos’ pole-position, the team won three races last year, two in the historic one-two finish for the man from Paraná and his wildcard Antonio Pizzonia in Tarumã, and the other for the man from Amazonas in Santa Cruz do Sul. Until today, Campos’ mechanical problems at the Velopark are mourned by Mico. “We lost 24 practically certain points and some more that could come in the second race, when Julinho left the pit because it was impossible to repair the damage to the car in between legs. With these points, we would have gotten to the last round in Curitiba in a much better condition to fight for the drivers’ and teams’ championships.”
Activities will resume this Saturday starting 8 AM, with the second and final practice session for each of the two groups of pilots. The starting order will be known after the qualifying sessions, due to start at noon. Q1 will select the 10 fastest drivers who will fight for pole-position in Q2.