Felipe Massa's kart team disqualified from 500 Milhas race after on-track brawl
The 21st edition of Brazil's 500 Kart Milhas event in Granja Viana had host of personalities with drivers, former racers (including Formula 1) and actors coming together to compete in a 806 kilometers kart race - which was to be covered in roughly 12 hours.
Among the participants was the recently retired F1 driver Felipe Massa, who entered under #19 MDG Matrix squad which also had Rodrigo Dantas, Julio Campos, Dudu Massa, Caio Collet, Marcos Gomes, Sergio Sette Camara and Lucas di Grassi.
The team qualified third for the race, while the #71 Barrichello Hero outfit comprising of Rubens Barrichello, Dudu Barrichello, Gary Carlton, Diego Nunes, Rafael Suzuki, Beto Knight, Kiko Porto, Arthur Leist, Rafael Martins, Joao Cunha claimed pole for the event.
At the halfway mark after completing 350 laps, Barichello's team was leading Massa's by 35 seconds, but towards the end stages of the competition, it was Dantas in Massa's kart who was heading the gird from #3 Sambaiba Racing Team's Tuka Rocha from Thiago Camilo's outfit.
The battle, though, turned ugly as Dantas seemingly blocked Rocha in defence of his lead position, when the latter tried to make a move - Rocha then punted Dantas on the back of his kart, as the two ended up on the tyre barriers.
Once they were out of their karts, Dantas took Rocha down and punched on his helmet as the security guards then rushed at the scene to take them away. Post race, the two teams were disqualified by the officials, handing the victory to Barichello's team.
Finishing two laps down on the winner was the #33 Autotrac Jaguar Racing team comprising of Nelsinho Piquet, Laszlo Piquet, Rodrigo Piquet, Marcos Regadas, Andre Nicastro, Pedro Piquet, Pedro Cardoso and Antonio Canedo.
And the final place on the podium went to #319 Car Racing AmericaNet of Peterson Nakamura, Jose Ricardo, Rodrigo Araujo, Roberto Azana, Galid Osman and Felipe Lapenna, who finished four laps down on the leaders.
"It is an incredible and incredible situation to win with my son a 500 Miles. I love him so much and all of our team are to be congratulated for the great work they have done," said Barichello after the podium. "It was a strange end, something I had never really seen happen on the track, but I'm very happy for the win and for getting on the podium first with my father," added Barichello Jr.
Massa, who was announced as the president for the CIK/International Karting Commission at the FIA General Assembly last week, was deeply saddened by the turn of events. The Brazilian believed the actions of Camilo's team earlier in the race should have resulted in a DQ. But then Massa also accepted responsibility for his team's actions in the first-fight.
Rocha in his response over the first incident with Massa said: "It was a shame, I never felt what I was feeling today. I was running and Felipe, a normal dispute, there his team started to make a shield for him, closing me in. Nothing justified, of course, but my team too got into the fray, started hitting each other, got out of control and it was ridiculous what happened."
On Dantas clash, he added: "After he passed me, the other driver stepped in front of me, started to hold me, then hooked up the fairing, we hit. I got off the road, I told him he was a coward, that he should let us run. helmet, threw me on the ground and it happened all that everybody saw. A lot of kicking.
"I have a lot of shame, I have a pilot school, I have graduated more than 300 pilots at the Ayrton Senna Institute, Senninha School ... A lot of people are looking, all professionals, and this is happening. It was happening, but the teams should have held the wave.
"It is not the time to judge anyone, but the drivers should have been disqualified quickly, since no one respected anything else. It was shameful, the ugliest thing I've ever seen in motor racing. Coming out of what was supposed to be a sad party and I still had a couple of shots."
Note: All the quotes from above has been translated from Portuguese, while the interview of Massa is also in the same language.