Before the weekend, he wasn`t between the main candidates. However, Gabriel Ponce de León (Ford nº 10) managed to reach his first career victory in Turismo Carretera (TC) at the fourteenth round disputed yesterday at the Nueve de Julio Raceway.
The competition on sunday started with Ponce in the pole position after winning the fastest hit of the morning. But it was Christian Ledesma (Chevrolet nº 2) who sourprised Ponce by taking the leadership in the first turn.
The 2003 sub-champion seemed to have a machine to dominate the situation, but the rhythm of Ponce, helped by a well balanced chassis and a better engine, gave the two times TC 2000 champion the opportunity to re-take his leading position on lap seven.
From that point Pon de León pushed hard and quickly made an imporant gap impossible to follow for the rest of the field.
With the leader far away, the dispute for the following places between the protagonists of the championship became in the interesting to see for the fans.
Ledesma continued loosing his level and lost second place in hands of Juan M. Silva (Ford nº 6), meanwhile Norberto Fontana (Dodge nº23), who started from eleventh place, was already sixth looking for more drivers to pass.
The argued betweeen standings leader, Omar Martínez (Ford nº 4) and Fontana left the former F1 driver with fifth place taking advantage of Martínez`s condition.
By halfway through the race, current champion Ernesto Bessone (Dodge nº 1) was doing his best complicated with the ballast and reaching eighth position.
The dispute for the last spot of the podium had Ledemsa, Guillermo Ortelli (Chevrolet nº 3) and Fontana squabbling head to head.
On lap 21 Fontana, winner this year at Río Cuarto, used all his potential to leave behind Ortelli along his aspirations to take a podium from Nueve de Julio.
Two laps later and almost in the end of the race, it was Ledesma`s turn to suffer Fontana`s power. The former TC 2000 champion passed the Chevy, while Bessone was out of the 15th. places after a spin.
The end of the competition had Ponde de León comfortably winning for the first time after 39 races in the series. A needed result for the 24 years old driver in a complicated season in the series.
"I`m very happy for this achieve. I want a thank the team that worked a lot for this and to everyone that supported me during this time", expressed Ponce during the press conference.
Silva completed the 1-2 for the Ford fans. Now Silva is second in the standings, but he still needs a victory in the next two races if he wants to take the championship. And he wants. "This is a good result after all. I`m ok and we are not going to give up now. It was a great season for us, and we still in the fight", Silva said.
Fontana, out of the convesation for the championship, added another important podium in the series. In his second year in TC, Fontana showed all he can do and it is a candidate for next season, surely.
Martínez scored sixth place in the end. A good result thinking only in the title. "We did fine today. The target is to be ahead of Silva on next and, if is it possible, take the victory", he mentionned.
The Ford men has 166 points followed by Silva with 156,5. Ortelli (144,5), Bessone (144) and Walter Hernández (134,5) completes top five positions.
On Novembre 2nd. will continue the passion of TC at La Plata Raceway.