GARZA RACING WINS ALL IN THE MEXICAN F2
The 12 race series of the Marlboro Cup, official name of Mexican F2 championship, ended last Sunday with complete victory for Josele Garza and his Marlboro/Garza Racing, when his drivers Jimmy Morales and Michel Jourdain Jr. finished 1-2 in the race and Morales won the drivers championship while the team won the Constructors' Cup.
The 25 lap race in the Grand Prix circuit (4421 m) of the Rodriguez Brothers track in Mexico City did not start auspiciously for the red and white team. Polesitter Rafael Martinez (Quaker State Racing) made a good start but defending champ and still championship contender Fernando Plata (Canel's/Martiga Racing) made a great one shaving the right hand armco overtaking Rafael and Jimmy from his third place in the grid. Plata arrived at the end of the main straight with about a 2 car length advantage over Rafael and a surprising Eduardo Goeters (Tecate Racing) in third place after starting fifth. The first lap was closed with Ruben Garcia-Novoa, Team Herdez, in fifth place after starting eleventh, sanapping at the heels of Jimmy, the other championship contender and Marlboro Team leader. However, Plata's teammate, Gerardo Martinez, pitted with engine trouble and was never able to help in the championship fight. On the other hand, Marlboro had Jimmy in fourth place with teammates Michel Jourdain Jr. in sixth, Freddy Van Beuren Jr. in seventh and Freddy Tame Jr. in ninth, the latter one driving the muletto car for this race only.
Jimmy retook Eduardo Goeters in the second lap but he could not make inroads in the fight for the lead and he needed to finish second, if Plata finished first, in order to get the championship. After 5 very tense laps, Rafa Martinez made his move at the end of the straight and forced Plata into second. Fernando was attacke by Jimmy right away in the "lake S" and sent him to third. The championship was now lost for him, and later it was said that his engine somehow lost power and would not pull full revs. Van Beuren and Jourdain closed in too and suddenly Plata was fighting to keep third while the leaders pulled away. Jorge Jimenez, trailing in 18th place spun in the Esses and lost a wheel but his car was right in the middle of the turn and the race was yellow chained with the safety car coming in from laps 8 to-11.
In the restart Jimmy and Plata passed Rafael by anticipating the gree but by the end of the lap Rafael was back in charge with Jimmy second at halfway. Behind Plata, Van Beuren and Jourdain were taking turns attacking him and the teammates collided, Freddy going into the boxes to change the nosecone but Michel passe Plata soon after. Lap 15 and Garcia-Novoa lost it at the entrance of the famous Peraltada and hit the tire barrier hard. He was unhurt and since his car could not be moved, marshalls moved the tyre barrier to cover the car and while this was done the safety car led the field for a few laps. At the restart Rafael and Jimmy got away while Plata caught Jourdain and got into third, again.
With only four laps to go Gianfranco Cane (Team Herdez), lost it bigger than teammate Garcia-Novoa, barely missing his car, and thumped the tire barrier in the Peraltada. The safety team couldn't extricate him but organizers didn't want the championship to end with yellow flags so they decided to put a local yellow only and fighting became more intense. Jourdain passed Plata, and Jorge Goeters (Tecate Racing) closed in. Rafael Martinez did not like the situation at the Peraltada with rescue crews swarming all over Cane's car and felt the race needed to be stopped or a much larger accident could happen if a car went out in that area, so he waved to the race director when he passed the boxes and weaved in the straight trying to get the other drivers to slow down, but the Marlboro drivers passed him and Plata followed suit under pressure from J.Goeters. Rafael kept waving with his arms and slowing in the small straight before the "lake S" and Goeters tried to pas him but only managed to punt him out of the track, both cars hitting the armco. Rafael was furious against the organizers and the drivers for their lack of respect for international standards and their failure to bring out the safety car, and that cost him the race. In the sprint to the finish, Jimmy beat Michel with Plata getting a hard fought third place, while Gianfranco was taken walking to an ambulance.With a great celebration Marlboro/Garza Racing ended the day as Constructors' champions, 1471 points versus 1356 of Canel's/Martiga and 1037 of Team Herdez, and its driver Jimmy Morales champion of the F2 with 847 points, against 790 of Plata.