Serra and Bueno 2 Guilber Hidaka/Red Bull Content Pool

In the second of a two-part interview, we catch up with Daniel Serra and Cacá Bueno ahead of the end of season play-off races in the Brazilian Stock Car Championship.

Cacá Bueno is looking to make history with a fourth title win while Daniel Serra is also in the hunt for the top prize. The first of four crucial play-off races takes place this weekend in Santa Cruz do Sul. We hear how Cacá and Daniel are preparing to take the fast lane to victory…

Cacá, how painful was it to lose your championship crown last year and what will it mean to you to win it back?
Cacá Bueno: After you win that first title you realise that staying at the top is far more difficult than getting there in the first place. Since this new style championship started in 2006 there’s only one other driver and myself that have managed to get to the play-offs every year. Losing by one point last year after coming back strong in the second half of the season was really painful. I will be giving everything to win this year and it’s good to know the entire team is behind me. If I win this year it will be my fourth title and I’ll be second in the list of all-time greats – not bad for a 35-year-old.

Will winning the championship be a good way to forget about missing out on the R$2 million cash prize that was on the table for a win at the Corrida do Milhão?
CB: (Laughing) Sure it will! However, a championship win will always be more precious than a single race even if there is a big cash prize on offer. I work towards winning championships and not individual races. At the beginning of the season I’m only thinking about being champion, the Corrida do Milhão doesn’t even enter my mind. I hope I can win the championship this year and then we will see how many people remember that race.

DS: I wish I could forget about that race already. For me personally, being champion would be worth so much more than any amount of money. A championship title is priceless.  

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Who do you identify among the other eight drivers as the major threats to the championship? What are your tactics to stay in front of these other guys?
CB: The only tactic is to go for the win. I believe the major threats are Thiago Camilo and Max Wilson who finished the regular season in first and second place. I’m a few points behind those two and they both belong to a very strong team. I won two championships while I was with that team so I know they will be hard to beat – not impossible but very tough. We beat them in 2009 and I have confidence in my own team that we can repeat that performance again this year.

DS: Every driver good enough to reach the play-offs is a threat. Max Wilson, Cacá, Marquinhos Gomes, Átila Abreu are all great drivers and very difficult to beat. Leading the way is Thiago Camilo who had a great regular season and won three races. We can only think about achieving the best results possible. If I can drive well and the car responds then there’s no reason why I can’t get into the top positions.

Is there any one of the four play-off races you are looking forward to more than the others – any circuits that you have a special connection with?
CB: My favourite track is Jacarepaguá in Rio de Janeiro, but unfortunately that isn’t part of the play-offs because of construction work going on there ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. I think the most daring and difficult of the four play-off circuits is Santa Cruz do Sul. I like that track a lot and I’m pleased it’s the first race of the play-offs because I have won there three times recently.

DS: I’m looking forward to racing at Londrina because it’s a track that I like. However, liking a circuit and achieving a good result on it are two completely different things. It’s good to race on a track you feel confident about because it helps you to feel more relaxed so I suppose that is some advantage. Apart from Londrina I have to say I also like racing at Santa Cruz do Sul and I’m also excited to go back to Brasilia and Velopark.

Stock Car Brazil play-off schedule
Sept 18 – Autódromo Internacional de Santa Cruz do Sul
Oct 2 – Autódromo Internacional Ayrton Senna
Oct 16 – Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet
Nov 6 – Velopark, Nova Santa Rita

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