The thirteenth round of the Turismo Carretera 2003 Championship wasn`t just one more in the long history of this great category. It was the race number 1000 of the most popular series in Argentina. Since that started far away in 1937 amazings...
The thirteenth round of the Turismo Carretera 2003 Championship wasn`t just one more in the long history of this great category. It was the race number 1000 of the most popular series in Argentina. Since that started far away in 1937 amazings names such as Juan Manuel Fangio (40-41 champion, before the European adventure), the Galvez brothers, Juan and Oscar, Joege Cuperiro, Eduardo Copello, Rubén Luis Di Palma, Roberto Mouras, J. M. Traverso and the list may be even much longer to remember the many expectacular heroes of the T.C. in 66 years of history.
The circuit of Paraná was the scenary of this real party that during all the weekend the T.C. family lived. Everyone wanted to be present and of course, all the drivers wanted to take this special competition but only one did: Juan Manuel Silva won driving in a fantastic way his Ford followed in the podium by Ernesto Bessone (Dodge) and Patricio Di Palma (Torino).
Already on saturday waiting for the qualifying session, thousands of souls arrived to the circuit looking for speed. And they received it. The veteran ¨Lalo¨ Ramos took the first position. Norberto Fontana, Silva, Bessone and A. Occhionero completed the top five places in a very thight session.
On sunday, despite the threaten of rain, the weather joined the 35000 people (maybe more) and gave us a beautiful sunny day.
After the three short early races of the morning, Ramos confirmed his good perfonmance to start the main competition in the pole. Fontana, Silva and company always close.
When the green light appeared 46 machines started to accelerared with Ramos in the command of the field but only for a few moments. In the second lap Fontana passed the 1994 champion to take one more time the leadership in a T.C. race in his short campaign in the series.
On lap 4 the Pace Car made it only appearence of the day because of Joseph`s car was in a bad place.
In the moment of full speed again, the leader Fontana went straight to pits with the engine of his Dodge broken. It was the end for another chance of victory for the former F1-driver in T.C.
With Fontana retired, Ramos re-took the leading but only for a moment again. Lap 6 was when Silva and P. Di Palma passed Ramos, who wasn`t with the same level of the morning. However the things would be more difficult for him as the race go on.
Silva in the leadership ment the end of the possibilities for the rest to win this important competition. Quickly he built a gap and any other competitor saw him until the podium.
With Silva and Di Palma comfortably first and second, the interesting of the race was the argued for the last step in the podium. In lap 14 Bessone overtook Ramos but a couple of laps later the Dodge driver made a mistake trying to reach Di Palma and lost until five position. To this situation Bessone added a problem in his car. With eight laps to go the chances of him seemed to be death.
Far of the podium was the fight for the champinship. Christian Ledesma was the best in eighth place, the local Omar Martínez was tenth while Guillermo Ortelli, who arrived as leader in the standings to Paraná, was eleventh trying to keep the first place. Not easy.
Traverso was in a great day, driving one more time in the dispute for the podium after some (many) bad races this year.
The competition arrived to the lasts four laps and Bessone, fifth, was fantastic recovering the lost terrain with the hurted Dodge. He passed Ramos, who continued leaving his agony.
It was the moment of Traverso, who with all his experience of 208 races, didn`t bother the road of Bessone. In the last lap, while Silva was near to the chequered flag, Bessone passed Di Palma, who lost perfonmance in his Torino during the lasts laps.
It was the end of the race number 1000 of the Turismo Carretera. Not many series in the world may say they reached 1000 races.
This was the third time that Silva is in the highest of a T.C. podium. The first was in his debut race in 1998. In 2002 took the Balcarce round and now is leaving an excellent moment.
The season started complicated for him leaving Alifraco`s team. with only a couple of races disputed. Despite the bad time lived, Silva is now in a great team and this result shows it. After three times in the second place this year (La Plata, Salta and Rafaela), the 1999 TC 2000 champion, waited until this sunday for this special victory, as he commented: ¨This is the most important victory, beacause all that happened around this anniversary race. I knew I had a winning car¨. When they asked about Fontana`s DNF added: ¨I would passed him, because I saw his problems in the back of his car¨. The rivality Silva-Fontana is something constant since Norberto is racing in Argentina. First, when he arrived to TC 2000 and now in T.C.
Silva continued: ¨I`m not better than Fontana, but he is not better than me either. I`m gonna win him the TC 2000 championship to show that when I want I can beat him¨, shooted the winner adding polemics to a hot moment between them.
Bessone completed at Paraná one of his best races in T.C. and that`s a lot knowing the greats results he has in this category.
¨I`m very happy, because after the mistake I continued trying to advance¨, mentionned a proud Bessone while he added: ¨Without much ballast we recovered a competitive car. This second place is for all the work done by the team.
The third finisher was happy despite he lost the second in the last lap: ¨Ernesto (Bessone) was quicker than I so I didn`t want to fight without sense¨, said P. Di Palma like a messagge to Fontana after the situstion lived in the last race at Río Cuarto.
The dispute for the championship continues very tight between both Chevrolets contenders, Ledesma (fifth) and Ortelli (ninth). The four times champion lost the head in the standings in hands of Christian.
Ledesma has 171 points while Ortelli reachs 169,5. The new third is Bessone with 142,5 and Martínez, eighth today, with 137. After the victory Silva jumped to the fifth place with 127,5.
The race number 1001, despite will not be that special as the 1000 will have surely lost of emotions as the T.C. always gave to the fans over the last 66 years. And will in the next 66.