Norberto Fontana survived to the caotic sixth round of the Turismo Carretera Championship disputed at RÃo Cuarto raceway under a constant flood. Both Ford drivers, Walter HernÃ¡ndez and Omar MartÃnez, completed the podium. Guillermo Ortelli...
Norberto Fontana survived to the caotic sixth round of the Turismo Carretera Championship disputed at Río Cuarto raceway under a constant flood. Both Ford drivers, Walter Hernández and Omar Martínez, completed the podium. Guillermo Ortelli still leading the standings.
Surely the conditions yesterday were the worst for a racing competition. Despite the continuous accidents and bumps during the morning short races, the stewards decided to start the main race, probable due to the 20000 people present around the circuit that carried the series with the water always present since saturday
It was Fontana`s victories that stands from the crazy idea of dispute the race under such conditions. The former F1 driver dominated the activity with sun taking the fastest lap on friday and appeared again on saturday and sunday showing all his experience to drive the heavy and difficult Dodge in the middle of something more similar to the sea than a racing track.
Fontana jumped to the leadership in the first lap taking advantage of both Chevrolet drivers, Christian Ledesma and Matías Rossi, spuns that left the last and younger out of the race.
From that moment Fontana dedicated to keep his machine in the asphalt, something not easy in the middle of cars spunning all over the 4.000 metres of length.
After all the competition finished with red flag after 14 laps of which only three were of full speed without the presence of the Pace Car.
¨We made a huge effort to have a team of mine own, but thanks to the support of Alberto Canapino and a lot of people we arrived to a victory we were waiting since a while¨, Fontana expressed after the wet podium.
The winner has some good experience with rainy conditions. ¨I remermber in Formula Nippon at Japan back on 1998. I won a race under a flood, but It was one hour of competition racing at 300 km/h¨, he commented. ¨Today it was really difficult to stay in the track¨, finished the Dodge driver.
Fontana made his debut in TC last year and reached the victory after 20 races in the series. The former TC 2000 champion had on 2003 many chances to win, but due to different situations yesterday was the final day, and Fontana took his first victory in the most important category in Argentina. Besides it was the first time a Dodge wins at Río Cuarto , where Ford and Chevrolet always dominated.
The second place was for Hernández a result similar to the victory. He started fifth and quickly jumped to third place right after the champion Ortelli. Hernández used the same strategy of Fontana: just stay in the track. And it finally paid off.
The 1993 TC champion finished in the podium for the second time this year and is a sure candidate to take the victory at any of the coming races.
¨Our weekend started very complicated, but we worked a lot under the rain and that helped a lot to achieve this result. It was a smooth race for us, I didn`t overtake anyone but I succeed staying in the track and that was the imporant¨, mentioned the second finisher.
Like Fontana, Hernández`s experience with the rain helped a lot. ¨In the race I won ten years ago, also at Río Cuarto the rain was harder but the difference was that it started on sunday and that`s why it was less complicated¨, remembered Hernández.
Martínez scored third place, a necessary result after two races where his owns mistakes put him out of complete a good race. Martínez, who started sixth the main race competition, made also a mistake, this time in the beggining. However the last winner in his circuit recovered using his capacity and his knowledge of the Ford to take an important result in the championship fight.
¨It was a good race despite the spun in the first lap. I believe the main protagonist of the day were the fans that stayed with very bad conditions and didn`t received the show they expected to see¨, commented Martínez to the press.
Despite Juan M. Traverso and Gabriel Ponce de León weren`t present in the final race, both became in the news of the day when Ponce hit Traverso during the second short race morning in the chequered flag moment leaving the Torino incrusted against the pit wall.
Traverso, with no major injuries, started to speak to the press around him saying all the insults and bad words that can be possible to say in one minute. Another moment of anger of the 53 years old driver. Once again.
The standings continue with Ortelli as leader with 89 points, followed by current champion Ernesto Bessone (4th.) with 74. Hernández jumped to third with 72,5 while Martínez has 71,5.
Turismo Carretera championship will now move to Nueve de Julio raceway on