AUTÓDROMO JOSÉ CARLOS PACE, SAO PAULO | Rubens Barrichello feared he could not anymore after he was hospitalized with a suspected stroke, in late January.

“When I was at the hospital, I feared I would not be able to do what I love (racing) anymore. I was worried”, said the driver, minutes after Brazilian Stock Car opening race’s qualifying in Interlagos.

The former F1 driver said that, after he left the hospital, he tested a shifter kart to see if he was still able to race at a high level. And he was.

I had to stop after five laps because my helmet was wet. It wasn’t rain. I was crying. I never saw something like that. It was a big emotion to see that I’m still the same. It was a very important moment for me”, he said.

Barrichello also was checked by Dino Altmann, Stock Car’ medical doctor, and was cleared to race.

Last Saturday, the Brazilian shares his car with Imsa’s Filipe Albuquerque in Stock Car’s Corrida de Duplas. Both achieved the second place after a great race of the Portuguese and with a great final performance of Rubinho that gave him an exciting podium.

BY Felipe Giacomelli