Mart?nez claims championship, Fontana the victory in TC

When it rest one race for the season close, Omar Martínez (Ford nº 4) has became today in the new Turismo Carretera champion as he took third place at the fifteenth round disputed at La Plata Raceway. Norberto Fontana (Dodge nº 23) achieved...

When it rest one race for the season close, Omar Martínez (Ford nº 4) has became today in the new Turismo Carretera champion as he took third place at the fifteenth round disputed at La Plata Raceway. Norberto Fontana (Dodge nº 23) achieved his second career victory in the series.

It was a dramatic definition. Martínez arrived to La Plata with 9,5 points over Juan M. Silva (Ford nº 6), which seemed difficult to have an earlier champion. Guillermo Ortelli (Chevrolet nº 3) and current champion, Ernesto Bessone (Dodge nº 1), also had his chances for the title.

"It's not easy and that's why I don't want a think", commented Martínez on saturady about the opportunity of close the deal for the title.

Martínez suffered and a lot during the main competition of the journey. The engine temperature because of some papers in the radiator was a matter of concern since the very start for him, the team and the thousends of fans around the circuit.

The two times winner this year did what he had to do by taking care the engine. "God my mother helped me from the heaven", said the emotive Martínez after the race, while he was clamied by the fans.

Martínez drove a clean and smooth race from the start to the chequered flag, always watching the temperature. "It was over 200º F, I was really worry".

Martínez could finally brake with his curse in the TC championship definitions. Since 1999 was protagonist and reached the definition of the title. Martínez added four sub-championship ('99, '00, '01 and '02). In '99 Martínez lost the title in a polemical end with Juan M. Traverso, and then in '01 arrived with 15 points to the last round and lost it in hands of Ortelli.

In the moment he crossed the finish line, Martínez libereted in the car all the pression for the only championship he could never take until today . "This is for everyone in the team that worked so hard, to my wife, my daughter and my son", mentionned the champion with tears in his eyes.

The former TC 2000 champion didn't forget the support of the Ford fans during this years. "They always supported me. I owe a title for them, and here it is", he said.

The regularity of Martínez during the season was the key, along his victories at Comodoro Rivadavia and Buenos Aires, and other several podiums.

When there's a champion, the winner of the race always is relegated. This is the case of Fontana, who completed superb job and added his second victory in 29 races in TC.

The former F1 driver dominated all the weekend since the activity started on friday by taking the pole position with the Dodge.

In the main race, Fontana always seemed to have a bit more than his persecuter, Rafael Verna (Ford nº 16). The engine change before the race and the extra ballast that this adds, didn't bother Fontana. "The car was fantastic", he said.

"This is my first real victory in the series, we completed the distance of the competition". Fontana means about his victory at Río Cuarto this year, when the rain put and end earlier to the race.

The other contenders in the championship argued, helped Martínez to win at La Plata. Silva, second in the standings, needed a victory. But he did all wrong, wit a spin in the morning race heat, which put him on 44th place to the final competition. "It was my mistake", explained latter. Start from the back in TC is almost a dead certificate. Silva retired on lap four with bumps of all kind in his Ford.

Ortelli, the only Chevrolet in the dispute, did all he could. The four times champion fought against everyone trying to advance, but the sixth place wasn't enough for him.

Who completed a bad weekend was Bessone. The 2003 champion was complicated with the ballst in his Dodge and he couldn't even fight for a position in top ten. A spin on lap 11th. when was fighting for 15th. place was the end for him.

The Turismo Carretera has a new and deserved champion. Is Martínez. As Fontana said after the race: "We share time in TC 2000 and I know how much he works. He will now have less pression with this tile, and will be surelly a different driver from now on". Time will tell.

Since his debut in the series in 1994, Martínez added 159 races, 43 podiums, 20 victories, 20 poles and 17 times the fastest lap.

The standings shows Martínez, already champion, with 184 points. The fight for the sub-championship has Ortelli with 157, 5, Silva with 156, 5, Verna, now fourth with 151,5 and Bessone with 147,5 units. Fontana jumped to seventh with 142 points.

The season close will have place on November 28th. at Río Gallegos.

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