After officially retiring from Formula One, Felipe Massa became the president of the International Karting Commission. The Brazilian was recently participating in a kart race in Brazil when an ugly incident left Massa embarrassed. Massa’s teammate Rodrigo Dantas was battling former World Series by Nissan and A1 Grand Prix racer Tuka Rocha. Rocha was in second and trying to catch leader Massa.
After repeated trading paintjobs, Rocha and Dantas collided and went off the track. Tempers flared as the pair exited their karts and settled thing manô a manô. Dantas appeared to pin Rocha and punch his helmet repeatedly. He then attempted to strangulate Rocha. The situation escalated to such an extent that security guards had to intervene. All karts entered under the two teams were disqualified. The offending teams were MDG Matrix and Sambaiba Centerbus Racing.
Massa confirmed that this wasn’t an isolated incident. MDG Matrix and Sambaiba Centerbus Racing had been battling throughout the race. The duration of the race – just under 12 hours – was said to be the catalyst for what transpired. The Brazilian veteran said, “From what I saw, the whole team should be disqualified. But that did not happen, and what happened next was a war inside the track. For me, this is very sad and sadder still to see my team within that. It was not my decision – I was driving the [leading] kart. But I apologise to everyone for what happened today, because I have never seen anything like it in my career. The competition is inside the track, but never in this way.”
Event organiser Felipe Giaffone promised strict action to punish the culprits. Meanwhile, fellow F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello benefitted from the chaos. His Hero #71 team won the event. Hero #71 were two laps behind the lead duo and inherited the lead while they pummelled each other.
Rubens said, “It’s a unique and incredible situation to win the 500 Miles with my son. I love him so much and all of our team are to be congratulated for the great work they have done.” His son Dudu said: “It was a strange ending, something I had never really seen happen on the track, but I’m really happy for the win and for getting on the podium first with my dad.”