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.