Finally... Ortelli

After a month of no activity, the T.C. 2000 championship returned to work at Oberá, a small town located in the province of Misiones, north of Argentina. A very short track of only 2.76 kms provides up downhill places, as well as fast corners and...

After a month of no activity, the T.C. 2000 championship returned to work at Oberá, a small town located in the province of Misiones, north of Argentina. A very short track of only 2.76 kms provides up downhill places, as well as fast corners and hairpins with a surface that wears a lot the tires, which makes always slows races here.

The Honda Racing Argentina had an historical sunday taking the 1,2,3 for Guillermo Ortelli, Martín Basso and the 1999 champion, Juan M. Silva.

Already on sunday the two Honda Civic of Ortelli and Basso shown their potential with the 1,2 after the qualify session.

The hole weekend was a dominium of Ortelli, leading the practice session, qualify and of course the 41 laps of competition on sunday. He lived a perfect weekend at Oberá. Why? Because until today in five races this season he only arrived in the second round at General Roca in second place behind his team mate Silva. Before Oberá Ortelli had 3 DNF and one race where he doesn`t even start at San Juan. To bad for a driver like him in a team like the HRA.

If you want to know how was the race, I can tell you very bored during the first half hour. 15 cars were like a train all together waiting for the last moments of the race, the time for definition. Is the only way to race at Oberá, taking care the tires during the first 20-25 laps.

Ortelli did everything right, as he always do, but this time his team did it too. No mechanic problem for him! That`s something we don't see at every TC 2000 competition.

Guillermo started from the pole position and led during 22 laps followed by Lucas Armellini with the private Chevrolet Astra. The Astra Young team shown a fantastic perfonmance all the weekend, always fastest than the factory Chevrolet team. But a mechanic problem cut the illusion for Armellini and his team to take this competition. However the Astra shown that will be an important protagonist for the next races, no doubt.

When Armellini retired, Norberto Fontana took the second place with a Toyota Corolla very complicated with 100kgs. of ballast after two victories this season. Fontana fought to stay in the dispute for a place in the podium, but the wear in his tires was to much and in lap 37 Basso decied was the moment to attack and so he did. With friction includ he passed the 2002 champion. In that lap Silva did the same with Fontana who lost until arrived in seventh position. A good result if we think that he was in a circuit bad for cars like the Corolla (100k. of ballast) and because the Ford drivers (according to Fontana the more important rivals for the championship) also had a difficult day. Walter Hernández arrived sixth with the Ford Focus, ahead Norberto, and Gabriel Ponce de León retired in lap 31.

It was great the work done by Esteban Tuero and Gabriel Furlán at Oberá. Tuero arrived fourth with the old Volkswagen Polo. Esteban and the Soprt Team decided to change after five bad races the Mitsubishi Lancer for the VW Polo. Tuero know very well how to race here. He took at this circuit his last victory in the category in 2000 season driving a factory VW Polo. Good memories for the former F1 driver.

After the saturday activity, where Furlán ended fourth, the illutions for him were more than good.

But during the first corner of the short race, a friction with Tuero put him Mitsubishi Lancer almost out of the race. With this situation, the two times winner in the category, started the main competition from the back of the field. Furlán iniciated a fantastic recovering. After 15 laps he was 11th. and very quick. He took advantage from the different situation of the second part of race and advance until fifth position. A great result after all.

A very difficult sunday had the Chevrolet ProRacing factory team. Winner with Christian Ledesma of the last race at Bahía Blanca. But the things were much different at Oberá. Ledesma and Bugliotti retired with mechanic problems in both Chevrolet Astra.

The results still unconfirmed because of Basso`s car. The Stewards found an irregularity in the suspension after the qualify session. However the team decided to appeal and according to the regultations Basso could compite on sunday without problems. Now the C.D.A. must decide if the Honda Civic was o.k. or not.

What might happen with Basso will not cut the happiness of Víctor Rosso (team director) and all the people at the HRA. Despite this weekend fantastic result, the team must continue working at this level if they want to fight the championship with Toyota and Ford.

After six rounds, Fontana leads with 66 points followed by Hernández 57, Ponce de León 55, Silva 38, Furlán and Ortelli 35, García 31, Ledesma 30, Fineschi 29 and Martínez 18 in the top ten.

Next round will be on July 27 at Río Cuarto, province of Córdoba.

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Series General
Drivers Martin Basso , Esteban Tuero , Christian Ledesma , Norberto Fontana , Guillermo Ortelli , Gabriel Ponce de Leon