One more time the end for a Turismo Carretera round was dramatic and full of emotion. Patricio Di Palma (Torino nÂº 8) achieved his third career victory a lap and a half before the chequered flag, when Rafael Verna`s engine (Ford nÂº 16) left the...
One more time the end for a Turismo Carretera round was dramatic and full of emotion. Patricio Di Palma (Torino nº 8) achieved his third career victory a lap and a half before the chequered flag, when Rafael Verna`s engine (Ford nº 16) left the Ford driver without the victory he needed in the fight for the championship of the category. Omar Martínez (Ford nº 4), new leader in the standings, and Guillermo Ortelli (Chevrolet nº 3)completed the podium at Buenos Aires Raceway.
The main race of the day started with Juan M. Silva (Ford nº 6), winner of the fastest hit in the morning, leading the field followed by Juan M. Traverso (Torino nº 12), Verna, Marcos Di Palma (Chevrolet nº 19) and Gabriel Ponce de León (Ford nº 10) in the very beginning.
The first change in the leadership came on lap fourth with Verna taking advantage of a mistake of Silva, while Traverso was already sixth, complicated with the engine and out of the dispute.
But it was a lap later when the head of the race lost to important protagonists. Marcos Di Palma hit Silva at 200 km/h, in the same moment that Norberto Fontana (Dodge nº 23) passed both in a great move. The result was Silva 25th. and Di Palma 23th. with a drive through penalty.
After the only apperance of the pace car, Verna still leading but near followed by Patricio Di Palma, Martínez and Fontana, while current champion, Ernesto Bessone (Dodge nº 1), was fighting around 21th. place, complicated with the ballast and trying to get some points. Bessone finally retired with brake problems.
On lap 12th. it was Ponce de León`s moment to quit the competition. The TC 2000 champion and winner a week ago, blew the engine when was running on good fifth.
Former champion Ortelli, who inciated the race from 12th., took advantage of his steady Chevy to reach fifth place, while the argued for the ledaership still on fire between Verna and Di Palma.
The Torino jumped to first place on lap 17th., but it was just for a moment. Verna passed him along with former F1 Fontana.
As the race move on, Silva was already again in the top ten showing he was a strong candidate to the victory, if things would be different.
In the front, Di Palma shown he still had a good car by leaving Fontana behind in one of the straights of the circuit.
The final sprint had Verna comfortably in the lead and the history of the thirteenth round of TC seemed to be closed. But of course this is something that should never be said in a Turismo Carretera race.
When it rest just a lap and a half, Verna`s engine started to fail leaving Di Palma in the door of his third victory in the series.
This retirement put Verna almost out in the fight for the championship. A victory at Buenos Aires would be his ticket to argued for the title until the end. However Verna left the circuit where he won four times in the past, handless.
The opposite was Patricio Di Palma. This was the third time for him in the highest of a TC podium. And all three were at Buenos Aires: In 1996 at the "Two hours of Buenos Aires" with Chevrolet and May 2003 with the same Torino built by his father, Luis Rubén Di Palma, in 2000 before he died.
It was a podium full of emotion with the three brothers, José Luis (retiered today), Patricio and Marcos, all together celebrating this success, unexpected two laps before.
After all, Martínez achieved second place and very important points for the champsionship where he now leads followed by Bessone, Silva and Ortelli.
Ortelli took third as the best Chevrolet and his chances in the championship still on, while Silva recovered for a strong fifth overall.
Top five classification: Patricio Di Palma, Martínez, Ortelli, Eduardo Ramos, Silva.
Next round will on October 10th. at Nueve de Julio.