Mozambican racing driver Rodrigo Almeida stepped into the spotlight on Saturday, when he finished second in the round 3 of the BMW M2 Cup at the Zolder circuit..
All odds pointed to Davit Kajaia setting the fastest time in timed training at Zolder, but at the last second, the young Mozambican driver Rodrigo Dias Almeida knocked the Georgian veteran off the top spot.
Until a few seconds before the end of the race, Kajaia was leading with an advantage of more than seven tenths of a second over Immanuel Vinke.
Everything pointed to a Kajaia-Vinke finish, before Rodrigo Almeida “suddenly emerged from the depths” and finished in first position.
The reason for the surprise finish was the 17-year-old driver’s bold choice of tires. With the track drying after Friday’s rain, Almeida dared to change to “slicks”, and did very well out of it, heading into Saturday’s race in pole position.
“His courage was rewarded, and the result is a well-deserved pole position. Now, I’m excited to see what he’s going to do in the race,” said race director Jörg Michaelis.
Louis Henkefend finished fourth, followed by Fabian Kreim and Theo Oeverhaus. In eighth position, behind Nicolas Hancke, was Carrie Schreiner. The former ADAC GT Masters driver was the fastest woman on the track. Jaqueline and Alesia Kreutzpointner were behind in ninth and tenth place, respectively.
Experience in changing circumstances was even more important. Former TCR driver Davit Kajaia had a lot of that, which he demonstrated with a fabulous lap early in qualifying.
On Saturday, Rodrigo Almeida performed well, finishing an honourable second position against more experienced competition. His performance saw Mozambique’s national anthem echo on a world stage, along with the colours of the national flag.
A highly competitive race saw three-time German rally champion Fabian Kreim cross the line first, while Salme Owega, the youngest competitor, drove a fantastic race to catch up.
After technical problems in qualifying, the 16-year-old started from the back of the grid, but a stand-out performance saw the young driver from Cologne climb to third position and complete the podium.
A driver on the up
Today’s best-known Mozambican driver, Rodrigo Almeida, was announced as a BMW driver earlier this year.
His current status is the result of good performance in international competitions, starting with first place in the CR DSG Europe Series in August, 2020, alongside Italian Gabriele Volpato at the wheel of a Volkswagen Golf GTI.
The talented driver also has a presence in the 24H Dubai race, a race included in the 24H series championship, a competition in which he finished in 33rd position.
Rodrigo Almeida also took second place in the 2021 TCR Ibérico Touring Car Series at the Spanish circuit in Jerez de La Frontera, Cadiz province.
Source: O País