The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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2003 is mine: Barrichello

Sao Paulo: Brazilian Rubens Barrichello insisted winning his home race here Sunday would be like claiming the world championship.

Ferrari driver Barrichello has never had fortune on his side at Interlagos after failing to finish the Brazilian Grand Prix on the last eight occasions. And he said Thursday that winning the event, rather than just finally completing the full race distance, is his goal, to score an emotional victory in front of his home crowd.

Victory in his homeland, he explained, would give him “the same feeling as winning the world championship.

“Winning my home race would be like that. I’m focussed, I’m better than ever and I hope that, together with my team, I can do the job this time.”

Statistics are on Barrichello’s side in this 2003 season because Brazilians have won this Grand Prix in 1973, 1983 and 1993.

He is hopeful this will be his year as he aims to follow in the footsteps of Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna by taking the chequered flag first.

“So 2003 is mine,” Barrichello said when asked about the statistic — although he knows it will take more than mere numbers.

“As I said to the Brazilians the other day, I don’t believe in those things and the world of Formula One made me change to a much more real picture of what it is.”

Barrichello said he would be largely surprised if he fails at the ninth time of asking.

“For most of the time, Brazil has been the first race,” he said. “There have been some errors on the way and some mistakes but I would say I’ve been surprised I haven’t finished the race yet with Ferrari here. One time I will eventually finish and like I said to Brazil, there is no point me thinking because I haven’t done so in the past. I must go slow and finish the race for the points.” (AFP)

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