Barrichello wins pole position in Brazilian Grand Prix

SAO PAULO: Rubens Barrichello here Sunday won his home Brazilian Grand Prix to
keep alive his challenge for the drivers world championship.

The 37-year-old Brazilian claimed pole position Saturday for the 71-laps race after an extraordinary storm-hit three hours qualifying session that played havoc with worldwide television schedules.

The local hero''s last-gasp fastest lap for the Brawn GP team not only enabled him to outpace nearest rival Mark Webber of Red Bull, but also set up his first triumph in his home event at his 17th attempt.

Backed by not only the crowd, aware that Barrichello grew up at Interlagos and began his career in the shadow of the great Ayrton Senna, but also his father, his family and many friends in the paddock, he has been followed by cheers and goodwill all weekend.

A victory would not only be universally well received, but also enhance his prospects of staying in the title fight with Brawn GP team-mate and championship leader Briton Jenson Button starting down in 14th place on the grid, just ahead of the third man in the scrap for glory, German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.

Button needs to make the podium to wrap up the title and after a struggle in the treacherous and madcap conditions on Saturday he was left with a major challenge if he is just to score points.

Barrichello, on 71 points in the title race, is 14 behind his team-mate and needs to make up at least five if he is to keep his challenge alive ahead of the season-closing race in Abu Dhabi on November 1.

Given that Webber has been fuelled for an opening stint two laps longer than Barrichello''s, it is quite possible that the Australian could win the race for Red Bull.

If that happened, and Barrichello was second, scoring eight points, then Button would need at least to finish fifth to take the title. If Barrichello manages to beat off Webber''s challenge and win, then Button must rise from 14th to third.

In either scenario, it is a difficult job for Button who may well be hoping that the forecast for more stormy weather and torrential rain proves to be accurate. If that happens, and the race is reduced to a lottery, one, or all three, of the title contenders, could finish pointless - and the championship would be settled by the Brazilian climate.