Fabián Yannantuoni took the ninth round of the Argentina Touring Car Championship (TC 2000) with a convincing lights-to flag victory at Río Cuarto Raceway, located at Córdoba province. Current champion, Gabriel Ponce de León, and Juan M. Silva completed the top three finishers.
Since the activity on the track started, Yannantuoni proved he had a winning car for sunday race. The factory Honda Civic driver iniciated the competition from the pole position after winning the fastest heat on the morning.
Yannantuoni dominated the final race opening a large lead over his pursuers, which he then lost in a safety car period. The strong engine of the Honda allowed the winner to build a gap in the first part of the race and to keep the leadership in the end, when Ponce de León was closer with the Ford Focus.
"I'm very happy. The team gave me a fantastic car that I could use very well from the start. The three cars of the team were very competitive all the weekend. During the safety car I tried to cool the car to be able to push later. Everybody in the team worked a lot to achieve this result. This victory is for them.", commented Yannantuoni.
This is second`s victory for Yannantuoni in TC 2000, almost a year after the first at San Rafael, with a privateer Honda at that moment.
Yannantuoni, with 24 years old, started the season driving for his own team and changed to the factory Honda Racing in the second round. Good move, no doubt.
For Ponce de León this second position is a revenge after being disqualified two weekes ago at Concordia. The Ford Focus was the fastest on saturday, however it was unable to catch the Japanesse product during the 33 laps around Río Cuarto Raceway.
Ponce worked hard to pass Norberto Fontana -who lost positions complicated in the Toyota- took advantage from the safety car period to cut the difference against the leader. But Yannantuoni covered every chance of the champion, complicated with the ballast in the Ford, did not gave the horse power to pass him in the straightway.
"It was the a hard race. I fought a lot to pass Fontana. Later I tried to ge closer and pass Yannantouni, but he took care his position very well", explained the champion.
Ford added to Ponce`s podium, the fourth place of Diego Aventín, who drove a smooth race from the 11th. in the grid and completed a good weekend for the factory team of Berta.
The third place for Silva came from the passion of the former champion. Silva used his known talent to achieve his second podium of the season.
Silva suffered a bump in the start that almost finish with his chances, but the 1999 champion recovered in a fantastic way. "I was down after the beggining and I almost stop, but then I decided to continue and start to pass cars", he mentioned.
The Honda men left behind Christian Ledesma, Aventín and Fontana, among others, to added another podium in his career in the series.
"This podium is for the team, and I want to congratulate Fabián for his victory. We proved we are in the right way and we must continue working", finished Silva.
The championship leader, Ledesma, arrived sixth in the track with the Chevrolet Astra. However he was penalysed due to a bump to Martín Basso, and took 10th. place after all.
Despite this situation, Ledesma still has a good advantage in the standings, where he leads with 123 points, 45 more than his teamate, Marcelo Bugliotti, second in the positions.
With Ledesma confortably leading, the dispute for the sub-championship is the only that rest interesting in 2004 season.
Top ten finishers: Yannantuoni, Ponce de León, Silva, Aventín, Fontana, Ledesma, Bugliotti,
TC 2000 will continue on september 19th. at San Rafael, Mendoza.