Ponce de Leon repeats championship

The thirteenth round of the Argentinan Touring Car Championship (TC 2000) disputed at the Oscar Cabalén Speedway was the perfect scenary for the dominium of the Ford team with both Ford Focus. Walter Hernández finally arrived to the victory in...

The thirteenth round of the Argentinan Touring Car Championship (TC 2000) disputed at the Oscar Cabalén Speedway was the perfect scenary for the dominium of the Ford team with both Ford Focus. Walter Hernández finally arrived to the victory in a podium completed by the factory Chevrolet Astra of Marcelo Bugliotti and the Focus of Gabriel Ponce de León, who with the third place became champion for the second time in the category.

From the very beginning the fight for the 2003 title showed diffrent situations like Norberto Fontana stopped in the starting grid with problems in his Toyota Corolla that complicated even more the small chances of the until yesterday current champion. Norberto retired and said god bye to the ¨1¨.

Once the main race began, Ponce de León took the leadership starting from the first place but with the privateer Mitsubishi Lancer of Gabriel Furlán in the back trying to reach the Focus.

But the entered of the Pace Car after four laps of race stopped Furlán`s search.

In the re-start of the speed Crispín Beitía at the wheel of the semi-works Ford Escort overtook the Mitsubishi who lost perfonmance until retired in lap 11 with mechanics problems leaving behind the victory opportunity.

After twelve laps Hernández, who iniciated the race fifth, was already third trying to advance. Beitía left the second place for Walter, like a good teammate, and Hernández started to push over Ponce de León`s position.

In lap 19th. Hernández passed his teammate and took the leadership of the competition.

With the 1-2 of the Ford Focus and the championship almost closed, appeared in the scene Bugliotti and his Astra to put some action in the track.

Bugliotti, winner here last year, pushed very hard over Beitía`s position until the Ford Escort driver couldn`t resist the pression and lost control of his car in lap 21.

With the Escort out of the way, Bugliotti with the support of his fans (37000) all around the circuit continued with his intention of complicate Ford`s party.

He quickly left behind Ponce de León who was more thinking in the championship than in the argued with the Chevrolet.

Bugliotti was already second and looking for more with the eyes in Hernández`s Focus. However the fire in López`s Alfa Romeo and the accident of the Chilean Julio Infante brought another Pace Car period of five laps meanwhile Infante received madical attention.

In lap 29 the green flag appeared and Hernández showed why he was leading when he set the fastest lap of all the competition. It was the end of Bugliotti`s hopes to fight for the victory.

After 33 laps Hernández won for the first time in two years and for the first time at the wheel of the Focus.

Like two years ago Ponce de León took the TC 2000 championship in this same circuit where the Ford team proved again all their capacity taking the title and the 1-2 in the standings due to the 121 points of Ponce followed by Hernández with 100, J.M. Silva with 95 and Fontana, 85 units.

The sub-championship definition must wait until the last round at Mar del Plata Speedway on December 7th.

The word of the top-three finishers:

W. Hernández: ¨I would like to congratulate Gabriel for this championship and also all the team for the job done during all the year. This race is very special for me and this is in memory of my dad¨. (Walter`s father passed away a month ago).

M. Bugliottti: ¨The Chevrolet Pro Racing team gave me an excellent car and besides this track is great for me. We knew from the start that it wouldn`t be easy to fight the Fords but the set up was really good and I repeated another podium in front my people¨.

G. Ponce de León: ¨I`m really happy. I want a dedicate this title to the Berta family (team owner) that allowed me to race. They trusted me when I was very young and gave me the chance of enter to their TC 2000 team¨.

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