When Oscar Fineschi arrived to Salta, where the T.C. 2000 disputed it eighth round of the 2003 championship, he surely never imagine this could be his great weekend in the category. The 20th. place in the qualify session didn`t help Fineschi in ...
When Oscar Fineschi arrived to Salta, where the T.C. 2000 disputed it eighth round of the 2003 championship, he surely never imagine this could be his great weekend in the category. The 20th. place in the qualify session didn`t help Fineschi in think this could be his opportunity. But it was. In a crazy race (despite it was a sunny day) Fineschi took his first victory in T.C. 2000 with his own private team after 115 races without reach the highest step in the podium. The rookie Nicolas Kern arrived second, also with a private team. J.M. Silva took third place after an intelligent race with the Honda Civic of the HRA team.
The actvity in saturday shown the always fastest in the qualify session, Guillermo Ortelli.
On sunday the T.C. champion won the short qualify race and started the main race in first place followed by Norberto Fontana. The Toyota Corolla driver passed Ortelli in the first curve in a great move, with the clear class of the former Champ Cars driver. But he only enjoyed the first place for one lap. An engine problem made him go to pits and he retired.
Ortelli took back the leadership and quickly built a gap of almost 3`` with the current second, Gabriel Furlán.
After 12 laps the race seemes to be one more in the T.C. 2000 history. But in that moment the teams and drivers start to discover a problem that didn`t appear during the weekend at Salta. It was the excessive tyre wear. They couldn`t resist the hit, product of the contact with the asphalt on the track. Furlán was the first driver that decided to make a pit stop. The case of the Mitsibishi driver seemed to be the only, but after a couple of laps the wear was evident in all the cars.
At that moment Ortelli decided to slow down his race rhythm. In lap 16 the leader, Walter Hernández (second), Omar Martínez (third) and Marcelo Bugliotti (fourth), were all very close between each other.
Martín Basso with the third factory Honda Civic continued very quick and he was fifth despite start out the top ten. The fight for the leadership between Ortelli and Martínez was fantastic but short. Ortelli`s front right tyre cut the illusion to take the second victory in the 2003 season. Along with Ortelli the problems appeared for Bugliotti, who lost control of his factory Chevrolet Astra, also with tyre wear. Martínez took the first place with the Toyota Corolla, but only for two laps. The tyre wear made him go to pits and loose with this the chances of a good result. It was the moment for the Ford driver, Hernández to take the lead, but like Martínez the tyre wear killed his possibility to win for the first time with the Ford Focus. In that moment the victory was for anyone. Basso took the first place and enjoyed the lead for the first time in T.C. 2000. Four laps before the end Fineschi with the private Honda Civic appeared in the scene and passed Basso. Fineschi took care the tyres and won for the first time in the category. His first race was in May 4th. 1986 in Las Parejas, province of Santa Fé. Since then Fineshi had 115 opprtunities to win. In 2001 season, when he returned to the cagetory after seven years, took a pole position and won the Privateers championship. Before this weekend the best results for Fineschi in his long activity in cars were champion in national Touring Cars in the `80s and winner in the South American Touring Car in the `90s. But no doubt this was the most special result for him.
But the news during the post race technical that the compression ratio in Fineschi`s Honda Civic engine was found in 11:1 complicated the situation for thr winner. The technical rule book admits this ratio can be meassured with different procedures, so the stewards decided to keep the race results as provicionals until next Tuesday 12th. when will be the final decision about sunday`s result.
The second place of the 2002 Megane Cup champion, Nicolas Kern was the other sourprise in the Salta podium. This was his eighth race in T.C. 2000. A great result for other private team, Belloso Competition with the Ford Escor Zetec.
J. M. Silva did one more time an excelent and intelligent race to take third place. The top six was completed by Mariano Bainotti with the Honda Civic of the Alisi private team, Gabriel Adhamoliin driving the Volkswagen Polo of the private Sport team and Basso who arrived sixth after a great job.
The provisional championship standings have Fontana with 72 points, Silva 65, Hernández 60, Fineschi 56, Ponce de León 55.
Next T.C. 2000 event will be on August 31th. at Resistencia, province of Chaco.