Rubens Barrichello wins Brazilian Stock Car title at Curitiba

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Former Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello has today been crowned the 2014 Brazilian Stock Car champion, 23 years after he last won a major title.

Barrichello made his F1 debut in 1993 for Jordan, two years after winning the British Formula 3 championship. He went on to take part in 326 race weekends, making 322 starts. Both stand as records in F1, with his 19-season career coming to an end in 2011.

The popular Brazilian was famously Michael Schumacher’s #2 at Ferrari between 2000 and 2005, finishing second in the drivers’ championship twice. His final shot at the title came in 2009 with Brawn, but he could only end the year in third place behind Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel.

After failing to secure a seat on the grid for 2012, Barrichello moved into IndyCar for one season, recording a best finish at Sonoma. He also took part in three stock car races in his native Brazil before going full-time in the series for 2013.

This year, Barrichello emerged as a championship contender after winning two races and recording three further podium finishes ahead of the final race in Curitiba today, requiring a top-four finish to be crowned champion.

Finishing third, the popular Brazilian celebrated his first championship win since British F3 in 1991, telling Autosport: “Only now Brazil starts to know me, and I am loving being in my country, in front of such an emotional public.”

Barrichello had been poised to make a sensational return to F1 at the Brazilian Grand Prix with Caterham, having agreed a one-race deal with previous team boss Colin Kolles, only for the team to enter administration and miss the race at Interlagos.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III