The third round of the Argentinian Touring Car Championship (Turismo Carretera) was held last sunday at La Plata Speedway where young driver Emanuel Moriatis (Ford No. 18) took victory in a brilliant competition followed in the podium by current champion Ernesto Bessone (Dodge No. 1) and Omar Martínez (Ford No. 4).
It was divided yesterday the feeling in the TC world when the activity was over. For many people having Moriatis in highest step of the podium was an unexpected result, another TC sourprise.
In the other hand were many who believe that Moriatis started this season, his third in the series, as a candidate to victory at any track the category visits.
This second time Moriatis reach the victory was different from that of 2003 when he dominated all the race until the chequered flag.
Despite this was his 29th. TC presentation Moriatis raced like an experimented driver with 10 years racing in high level in his back. But he is not.
From the fifth place in the starting grid to the final lap many things happened that Moriatis managed in a great way. He always took his time to make a move. After eight laps was the moment to pass Juan M. Silva (Ford No. 6). And so he did.
In lap 15 was the turn of leaving behind his teamate, Rafael Verna (Ford No. 16) and a laps later took advantage of Christian Ledesma`s (Chevrolet No. 2) problems and jumped to second place.
Martínez was leading and seemed imposible to reach him. It was until a mistake of the leader gave Moriatis the chance to grabb the first place resting five laps to the chequered flag.
Does anyone still believes this guy can`t beat the TC beasts? Up to you.
Bessone started the 2004 season complicated due to the low perfonmance of his car and knew that La Plata was an important opportunity to start adding good points for the championship.
The champion completed a great race racing with his own style in TC. Always from less to more using his years of experience to take advantage from the different situations in the track.
Bessone`s third place in the grid show him as a candidate for the victory. However a polemical first move put him in seventh place after just one lap.
Ten laps later he was in the group with Verna, Silva and Moriatis in the dispute of a place in the podium.
With his Dodge in a great level as the laps goes on, Bessone overtook Silva and Verna. When appeared the problems with Ledesma, Bessone jumped to third getting closer to the leader.
Finally passed Martínez in lap 20 taking his first podium of the year while he waits for his new car in some races. The champion Bessone is back.
Martínez arrived to La Plata as the last winner and knowing this could be a good circuit to cut the points gap with championship leader, Guillermo Ortelli (Chevrolet No. 3).
During all the weekend his Ford was in the top five places and sunday was no exception.
The third place is a great result thinking in the championship but in this case seemed to be different because Martínez had the chance to win here a left it in the grass of turn 5. After all a podium is always welcome for a man that looks his first TC title.
The Torino fans had a very interesting result in hands of Juan M. Traverso (Torino No. 12). The fourth place for the six times champion in TC was clearly the best of the year so far and proves that the car is going better and better adding laps in track.
Traverso said on friday that ¨I want a be in the top five¨ which was far away that day with the 31st. place. On saturday the Torino ¨appeared¨ taking ninth time and on sunday the experience of Traverso allowed him to reach his target for this weekend, but always looking for more: ¨We are in a good road, but we still must improve to be in the front¨, commented a happy Traverso after the main race. Something unusual in the last TC seasons.
Chevrolet drivers showed again how Ortelli and Ledesma are the only cards to have a ¨Chevy¨ in the leading.
With Ledesma out of dispute like at Comodoro with a flat tyre when he was looking for a victory the best Chevrolet was José Luis Di Palma (Chevrolet No. 32), eighth at the end. A good result for him in his race number 100 since his debut 1997, but very bad for the fans that want a see their drivers in the front.
The standings after three rounds continues with Ortelli leading with 54,5 points despite the poor 10th. place at La Plata. Martínez jumped to second with 45,5 followed by Bessone with 40. Verna is fourth with 38 while Matías Rossi (Chevrolet No. 48) completes top five places with 35,5 units.
Next TC round will be on Arpil 11th. at Balcarce Speedway, province of Buenos Aires.