Buenos Aires is always special. For any category. And TC 2000 was no exception. The most important race of the season was won by the factory Chevrolet Astra driver, Marcelo Bugliotti. Both Ford Focus drivers, Gabriel Ponce de LeÃ³n and Walter ...
Buenos Aires is always special. For any category. And TC 2000 was no exception. The most important race of the season was won by the factory Chevrolet Astra driver, Marcelo Bugliotti.
Both Ford Focus drivers, Gabriel Ponce de León and Walter Hernández completed the podium.
TC 2000 was waiting for this competition, the eleventh round of the 2003 championship.
The crowd of 55000 that filled the race track was a clear sample that the series is very present in lots of Argentinians thirstys of drama, action and speed..
The main eventh started with Ponce de León and Gabriel Furlán fighting for the leadership, while behing Lucas Armellini overtook J. M. Silva for the third place but only for a moment. Armellini lost control of his privateer Chevrolet Astra in Ascari`s turn and retired leving a big chance of podium at Buenos Aires.
With the Pace Car in the track all the differences disappeared. Ponce de León, Furlán Hernández, Silva, Bugliotti and Guillermo Ortelli in the top-six places.
When the race seemed to be a dominium between Ponce and Furlán, the Mitsubishi Lancer driver shown engines problems that put Furlán out of the argued for the victory after only 15 laps.
Both Ford Focus was 1-2 and most of the thousands of persons must thinked that the result would be the same for the end. Well, those persons didn`t thinked in Bugliotti`s capacity to use the potential of a great car as is the new Astra.
From the fourth place, Bugliotti started to push over Silva`s Honda, who made a mistake in the last turn of the track and lost the position in hands of the future winner.
Marcelo started to get closer Hernández with the fastest lap included at 146.871 km/h. In Ford pits knew that the attack will be hard.
In lap 18 Bugliotti overtook Hernández in the end of the main straight in a great move by the outside to take the second place and break the Ford dominium.
A lap latter was the moment of Ponce to feel the presence of the Chevrolet Astra. In a similar move, he passed the leader, but this time by the inside, while in Toyota`s pits were happy when their rivals in the championship were loosing the victory
20 laps completed and Bugliotti was in the lead, however the former Honda driver didn`t felt speep in the first place and continue pushing hard to build a gap with both Ford Focus.
The second part of the race saw the fight between Ford and Honda for the podium points.
Silva tried to pass Hernández, who seemed to be taking care Ponce`s position. When Silva understood he couldn`t reach the third place, allow his team mate to give a shot. In the lasts laps of the race, Ortelli looked for a place to put his Honda, but Hernández was very solid in his postion. Finally Ortelli gave back the fourth place to Silva, who continues in the argued for the championship
Toyota lived at Buenos Aires a difficult weekend. Omar Martínez, who race after race seemes to be out the team for the next season, retired in the first lap after a friction with J.M. López`s Alfa Romeo in the first turn.
For the current champion, Norberto Fontana, the engine problems complicated his work on saturday. Fontana started the race 12th. and quickly passed a couple of competitiors.
During some laps enjoyed the sixth place, but he couldn`t attend the pression of Nelson García with the always competitive Ford Escort. Also Norberto had a dispute with Crispín Beitía, also Ford Escort, but finally the seventh gave him at least a couple of points.
Leandro Carducci and the last winner, Fabián Yannantuoni, both with privateers Honda Civic, completed thew top-ten classification.
This victory is for Bugliotti the number seven in 80 races in the TC 2000 since his debut in 1999. Also is the third for the team in the came back season for Chevrolet.
A news that was in the pits since a while was finally confirmed. Ortelli will move to Peugeot in 2004. Peugeot will return to the series after their retires in the end of the 2001 season.
After eleven rounds, Ponce de León leads the standings with 101 pointsm, followed by Fontana with 85, Hernández, 80, Silva with 78 and Furlán completes the top-five with 55 units.
Now the category will return to San Luis on Novermber 2nd. for the next race, where disputed the opener season last March.