January 17th saw a dozen drivers line-up in their Skip Barber F2000s on the grid at Brazil’s Autódromo José Carlos Pace for a seemingly casual 15 laps between the two lakes at legendary Interlagos. Spirits were high as the lights turned green and the air of São Paulo was virtually filled with the sounds of the two liter, four cylinder engines screaming at max RPM.
The launch was good for pole-sitter Bruno Risseto and Andrew Cowell third, but not so much for Daniel Del Campo Pelaez who had qualified second on the grid. Cowell. was able to get alongside of Pelaez and make the pass around the outside of Turn One to take second place. Cowell was able to carry that momentum from the Senna Esses to pull alongside Risseto and attempt another move around the outside of Turn Four, but his bid for the lead proved unsuccessful. Likewise, Victor Asensio challenged Manuel Gil for P6 through Turns Four and Five but Gil came out ahead.
At the start if the second lap Cowell was side-by-side with Risseto for another attempt at the lead, this time around the outside into turn 1, but Risetto maintained the position once again. A couple of seconds behind Asensio used the slipstream to good effect on the Start/Finish straight and took sixth place from Gil to start lap two. Soon after that, Cowell again used the momentum exiting the Senna Esses to challenge Risseto on the outside into Turn Four. This time he succeeded in taking the lead, but not before both drivers lost time to the trio behind battling for third place.
On Lap Three Palaez was very close to making a move on Giuseppe Muia (who started from fourth on the grid) through Turn Six; so close, in fact, that he had to swerve in avoidance and lost fourth spot to Cristian Moreno.
A couple of laps later, Risseto mounted a successful counterattack on Cowell, retaking the lead on the inside line on the first turn. Cowell was a bit eager to retake the lead and almost hit Risseto going into Turn Eight. The move caught Muia off-guard, resulting in contact between the two sim-racers, sending Cowell spinning-off into the grass and dropping down to ninth place and, shortly thereafter, retirement. Meanwhile, Moreno took full advantage of the contact between Muia and Cowell to take over second spot only for Muia and Pelaez to get better exits out of Junção and the threesome crossed the line side-by-side to start Lap Six.
Muia braked the latest of the three to win the resulting game of chicken and take second spot even as Pelaez demoted Moreno to fourth less than a lap after he had taken second place. The three-way battle for third was too good to last . . . and it didn’t. Into the braking zone for Turn One on Lap Seven, Muia launched over Pelaez’ car and did four (and a half) barrel rolls before coming to a rest in the middle of the turn, upside-down, with both drivers forced to retire. With Moreno taking avoiding action to the outside, Asensio dove to the inside of Turn One, got a better line through the Senna Esses and grabbed second place into Turn Four.
The next seven laps were something special to watch as Moreno and Asensio swapped second position back and forth even as Risseto consolidated his lead. Lap Nine saw Asensio run wide at turn 10, handing Moreno the spot. Next time around, Moreno grabbed the inside line for Turn One and took the position right back, only to struggle through Junção and yield second to Asensio . . . and so on; lap after lap.
Finally as the last lap of the race loomed, Asensio got a good run on Moreno through Turn Four and it seemed the contest was settled. Not so fast! Better late than never, Moreno solved his Junção issues and got a nice tow down the Start/Finish straight. As the checkered flag waved on the victorious Risseto, Moreno pulled alongside Asensio and edged past by just twelve thousandths of a second to take second place with Gil coming home fourth a further six seconds back.