The Saturday (25) at Tarumã meant not only the start of the season of a renewed Endurance Brasil championship, as well of the Gaucho state endurance series, but also the debut of some impressive machinery. Even though, the reliable MC Tubarão was on top spot, thanks to incredible performances from Franco Pasquale and Tiel de Andrade.
Along with the pole position of the No. 28 MetalMoro AJR from JLM Racing, rain was also a surprise, as with 30 minutes to start a strong downpour hit the track, left puddles in various points and delayed the starting procedures.
When the green came in fact, the No. 28 AJR was leading the No. 20 Stuttgart Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R, but once the track dried more and more the 911 GT3 R prevailed over the AJR due to intense tire degradation from the prototype.
Yellow flags were a thing again at Tarumã, with the Safety Car joining the track in several occasions, with the first one being the crash of the No. 43 Spyder as Gustavo Tomazini lost control when he powered down at the exit of the Curva do Laço. Once the green flag came up again, the Porsche established a huge advantage to the No. 05 MC Tubarão 9, and it gap was kept safe until near the end of the first hour, when the caution was thrown twice as the No. 117 MetalMoro MR18 had a hard encounter with the barriers at Turn 1 and when the No. 46 Lamborghini Gallardo stopped on track.
When green finally was established again after an hour and 15 minutes the MC Tubarão 9 quickly took action as the gap to the leading Porsche was reduced to a few tenths of second, overtaking it a lap later. At this point the battle for the lead was already reserved for them as the No. 31 Mottin Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 was already 2 laps behind, even though it came in a pretty solid run.
The new MetalMoro AJR was in a recovery race for quite an hour, climbing from fifth to third in the meantime but progress was halted in the halfway when they visited the pits again.
The strong run of the Mc Tubarão 9 was slowed down after half of the race, right when Tiel de Andrade was about to lap the No. 20 Porsche, as another yellow flag was called after a crash between the No. 100 Peugeot and the No. 128 Proto 1R at the exit of the Turn 9. The Proto 1R was caught by the rescue team vehicle while the Peugeot went right to the pits for immediate repairs but succumbed to the crash damage. The Proto 1R came back to racing with some missing body parts, but was in a fine run.
Sometimes yellows breed yellows and this was rule at this point of the race, but the fifth caution was called because of two distinct accidents, as the P2 class leader, the No. 75 MRX, went right to the barrier of the Curva do Laço. Somehow Fernando Onashi was able to free the car from the tires and got back to track, even though there was some body damage. The other accident was at the main straight when the No. 17 Chevrolet Sonic Stock Car with Andre Senger at the wheel rammed the back of the No. 56 MRX of Gustavo Simon as the GT1 class car started pushing at the green flag, but couldn't do much after the immediate yellow flag call.
Two hours of racing and the lead battle was on again while the No. 71 SATTI Racing MCR was the new third placed car, and pace was pretty close if not even between first and second, and traffic played at part in this fight at the early stages of the final hour, as the Porsche capitalized in the problems of the MC Tubarão to negotiate the overtakes on the backmarkers. When things got really close the sixth yellow flag came out as the No. 88 Volkswagen Gol stopped in a point near the track, with the green returning with 30 minutes to go, as fights for the overall win and podium took place.
The No. 71 SATTI Racing MCR was on a mission to hold third place off from the No. 31 Mottin Racing Gallardo, as was the No. 05 MC Tubarão doing to the No. 20 Stuttgart Motorsport 911 GT3 R. As the MC Tubarão got cornered in the heavy traffic, the Porsche got the lead with a smart pass, and Ricardo Maurício tried to open the gap as much as possible, but once both were again with open way, Tiel deAndrade raised the bar and started chasing Maurício.
The final yellow flag came with 15 minutes to go as the No. 64 MC Tubarão BMW M3 GT4 stopped after the Turn 2, and this left no backmarkers between the leaders, and after five minutes the green came back, leaving the battle wide open. Once in the main straight, Tiel de Andrade just pushed hard and passed Ricardo Maurício with certain ease for the lead, and with the Porsche having neither the pace or the time to counter, MC Tubarão was finally able to celebrate the first win in the season.
The final podium spot was a no-man's land as a suspension failure knocked out the No. 71 SATTI Racing MCR while a puncture almost halted the No. 31 Mottin Racing Gallardo, but thanks to a quick pitwork the Gallardo came back with enough gap to retain the podium.
The No. 32 MC Tubarão made a clean run to the P2 class win and fourth place overall, while the No. 69 MC Tubarão 8 took P3 class honors. The GT1 class winner was the No. 155 Ferrari 430 Challenge and the GT2 class winner was the No. 9 Maseratti Trofeo.
Here are the full results:
The next round of the Endurance RS championship will be at Guaporé on April 29th, while the DOPAMINA Endurance Brasil will race at Santa Cruz do Sul on May 27th.