The 2004 season of the Argentinian Touring Car Championship (TC 2000) finally began last weekend at General Roca Raceway, located in southern Argentina. Christian Ledesma took the victory at the wheel of a factory Chevrolet Astra followed in the...
The 2004 season of the Argentinian Touring Car Championship (TC 2000) finally began last weekend at General Roca Raceway, located in southern Argentina. Christian Ledesma took the victory at the wheel of a factory Chevrolet Astra followed in the podium by Guillermo Ortelli with the Peugeot 307 and current champion Gabriel Ponce de León, Ford Focus Zetec.
Many things happened and many others were said about the new TC 2000 for this year. The series took an important risk in 2004 with several changes in the technical rule book to increase side-by-side racing with all the cars using the same elements in suspensions, new anti-roll cages and 18" tyres.
The 2600 metres at the tight and twisted General Roca circuit were the first test and the result was more than positive.
When Ledesma crossed the chequered flag became in the inexpected first winner of the season.
Inexpected because in the start lost his sixth place in the gird until the last position. In a normal race this would be the end for Ledesma, but the situations lived in the track and the known capacity of the driver allowed him to celebrate at the end.
In the beginning Juan Manuel Silva, factory Honda Petrobras driver, seemed to have everything under his control. And it was until lap 24 when the engine of the Civic cut the ilution of Silva and the team to take his third consecutive victory at Roca. Half race and Silva was history.
Behind the leaders the fight was rough with several place changes, friction, bumps and polemical moves everywhere.
With all this condiments the race became more and more emotive and the retirements were unavoidable. Bugliotti finished in the pits with the second Chevrolet Astra after hit with almost all the field! Leandro Carducci with a privateer Honda Civic couldn`t complete what would it be a great result when Martín Basso driving a factory Civic hit him when Basso lost his car. Both out.
All this situations brought the Pace Car in the track for a couple of laps leaving the nine surviving drivers all together for the final rush.
Ledesma inciated his final attack over leader Yannantuoni who couldn`t resist the Astra in the back of his Honda Civic. Ledesma passed him in a great move taking the leadership until the end.
Gabriel Furlán was about to complete an amazing second place but the Mitsubishi Lancer stopped ten laps before the chequered flag.
Peugeot team seemed to have no chance for a good result here when Ortelli lost many positions in the middle of the race. However he never gave up and despite problems with the car Ortelli managed to arrived in a fantastic second place.
The last step in the podium would it be for Yannantuoni but a mistake two laps before the end gave Ponce de León a welcome third place for the factory Ford team.
The champion took advantage of everyone else problems to finished in a very important result after he started the main race in the last row of the grid.
Norberto Fontana and the Toyota team lived a difficult weekend. The former F1 driver scored fourth fighting all the positions. At the end the bumpy Corolla was a sample of the race and Fontana`s style. Rough as always.
Yannantuoni arrived fifth after all. Good result for his debut with his own team in the category, while rookie Carlos Okulovich put the second Peugeot in the top six places.
Luis Belloso driving the only Renault Megane and Mariano Bainotti with the Volkswagen Bora completed the eight drivers that saw the chequered flag.
The first round of the TC 2000 season is gone. Now the future is promising for the series waiting for new cars in the next races and more dispute in the circuits all around the country.
The championship continues on April 25th. at Viedma Raceway, Río Negro province.