The third round of the DOPAMINA Endurance championship had every wet way possible to welcome drivers, fans and media at Santa Cruz do Sul, from light showers to heavy downpour, and this made things too hard to hold a full race, with the No. 05 MC Tubarão IX of Franco Pasquale and Tiel de Andrade winning in dominant form for the second time in the 2017 season.
To prove that rain was the main factor at Santa Cruz do Sul, the race started earlier than predicted, having the green flag at 10 A.M. rather than the predicted start time of 1 P.M. as worse weather was expected for the Saturday (27) afternoon.
The best conditions of the track were at the start when rain ceased and some battles took place. The No. 05 MC Tubarão IX streched its lead while the No. 37 Scorpion of Stuart Turvey held second place off the No. 65 NC Racing MXR after the No. 117 MetalMoro MR18 go down to fifth. While in the first moments there was the first caution period as Cali Crestani spun the No. 3 Tornado 3 prototype.
Once the restart happened the No. 71 SATTI Racing MCR took third position and opened the gap to fight with the No. 37 Scorpion, while the No. 44 MRX took fourth place with incredible overtakes into the No. 18 Mottin Racing MCR Lamborghini and the No. 65 NC Racing MXR.
It just needed a bit more than 30 minutes to see the rain get in with intensity, and the first victim of the wet conditions was the No. 64 MC Tubarão BMW M3 of Sergio Ribas as the car spun and had some time to get back to track while the Safety Car joined it. When the yellow gave place to the green, Ian Ely had some hard work to do in the No. 71 SATTI Racing MCR, as the backmarker No. 199 FIAT Linea blocked his way along with his direct opponents, losing the second place to the No. 44 MRX, and when Ely got free of the backmarker the track was simply too treacherous to allow a push to get the position back, proved by the same No. 44 as the car spun after leaving a corner.
Following the spin of the No. 44, the No. 56 MRX and the No. 110 DTR MR18 had their troubles to deal with the water, and with this the Safety Car was called again, and after one lap of green flag the yellow was called again as the No. 75 Proto 1R, the No. 65 NC Racing MXR, the No. 117 MR18 and the No. 96 SATTI Racing MCR spun, with the No. 65 and the No. 117 having the worst end of the deal as the cars stopped in the tire barriers, while the No. 75 got back to racing.
The track at the time was simply so wet that even the more stable GP1 and P2 class machines had some scary moments, losing balance on turn exits and on straight line even with heavily reduced pace. With more than 75% of the race realized, no signs of improvement in both track and weather and with the race probably staying under Safety Car pace until the 3 hour mark, stewards decided to bring an end to the race as Tiel de Andrade brought the No. 05 to the checkered flag with 2 hours and 20 minutes completed. The overall podium was completed by the P2 class winner No. 44 MRX and by the No. 71 SATTI Racing MCR, second placed in the GP1 class.
3 Hours of Santa Cruz do Sul - Results
Most of the other class winners finished near the overall winner, like the No. 8 Scuderia Macchina MRX, top on P3 and 4th overall, and the No. 199 Linea, top on GT2 and 7th overall.The DOPAMINA Endurance championship returns to action on June 24th with the 500 km of Curitiba, leaving the Rio Grande do Sul state for the first time in the season.