Ponce de Le?n repeats victory at Chaco

After the crazy race we lived three weeks ago at Salta the things are back in their place in the T.C. 2000 with the ninth round of the championchip disputed at Resistencia, province of Chaco in the Argentinian north. One men, one car and one team...

After the crazy race we lived three weeks ago at Salta the things are back in their place in the T.C. 2000 with the ninth round of the championchip disputed at Resistencia, province of Chaco in the Argentinian north. One men, one car and one team dominated the 49 laps of the main event: Gabriel Ponce de León with the Ford Focus Zetec under the umbrella of the Berta Motorsport.

Fabián Yannantuoni completed the podium with a private Honda Civic while Marcelo Bugliotti took third place in the factory Chevrolet Astra.

When Ponce de León arrived to Resistencia surely lots of nice memories came to his young mind. In this same track he took the victory driving the Ford Escort Zetec in 2001, season he became champion of the category.

Now the things changed. At least a little for him. But the idea was the same: win. The 24 years old driver did all good on sunday to make of this race his race. Of course the job done by the team was also great. During all the weekend Ponce was in the fight. On saturday he qualified second, behind Omar Martínez, his first pole with Toyota after 21 tries with the Corolla. Norberto Fontana was 15th. and 22 cars ended closed by a second. Fantastic.

On sunday Ponce won the short qualifying race (also was the fastest leaving behind Martínez) and started the main race from the first place.

In the start Ponce kept the leading followed by Yannantuoni, Martínez, Christian Ledesma and the local J.M. Silva in the top five positions. Norberto Fontana was 11th. after crossed the initial lap

Esteban Tuero did an amazing work with the old Volkswagen Polo. The former F1 driver was sixth in the starting grid, quickly took fourth place and kept it during 30 laps when a mechanic problem put him out of the dispute. No doubt, Tuero should be in a better team.

One more time the tires wear here seemed to be the key of a good or bad result. While some drivers (Silva, Ledesma) were in a slow rhythm of competition, others (Fontana, Bugliotti) had a different idea. Some frictions were obvious.

Ponce shown his strategy driving his Focus to the edge in the very first laps of race trying to make a gap with the second follower, Yannantuoni. And so he did.

The three cars of the HRA team suffered unequal luck. Silva couldn`t give to his people (22000 wanted to see his driver al least in the podium) the result they deserve. The ballast (100 kg., the maxium) and problems in the gear box made him lost terrain until arrived 13th a lap behind.

Another very good and smart race completed the rookie Martín Basso with the Civic. The fourth final position is more than great for him. His temmate Guillermo Ortelli (who came to this race after a victory a week ago in Turismo Carretera) also did an intelligent job and had his reward. The fifth position after lost all his chances in the first curve of the qualifying short race which made him started the main race 14th. is very good, but of course he wanted to win.

Superb was what Nelson García did in the semi-factory Ford Escort Zetec. The starting grid shown him 27th. However alomst in silence the former Mitsubishi driver put all his experience in the track to take home important points along the sixth place.

The seventh place was for Marcos Di Palma his best result in his short campaign in the category. Despite the 22th. position on saturday, the private Chavrolet Astra shown very competitive on sunday. Di Palma continue adding experience with the car and could be a sourprise for the next races.

Fontana crossed the chequered flag third. Which is no news for nobody. Is also no news that the former CART driver make a risky move to pass another competitor. The news here is that he was disqualified after a polemical overtake in the last lap of race to get the podium. The champion put two tires on the grass to pass Bugliotti and with a bump included took the third place. And he enoyed it a lot until the stewards decided to put 30 seconds of penalty. Fontana finished eight after all and lost the leadership of he champinship one point behind Ponce de León. Despite Norberto would continue as leader in the standings with the fourth place, that wasn`t enough for him, who always want more and more. That his spirit of competition. This time he was wrong, next time will be better.

The other Toyota driver, Martínez is in his wrost season in the category. An electrical problem made him retires in lap 41 when the podium was in his hands. Will Martínez continue in Toyota next season? Time will say.

Gabriel Ponce de León: ¨I`m very happy witth this victory, because we take important points for the championship. I had a great car all the weekend and we only had a problem with the power shift during the first six laps of race. In race I kept a quick rhythm, because Yannantuoni was very fast, but I could mantain the difference¨

Fabián Yannantuoni: ¨Is an excellent result and I`m vey happy for this. I had a great start where I passed Omar (Martínez) and then I tried to catch Ponce with a quick rhythm but I decided I stopped because of the excesive tire wear. I tried again in the last laps nu I couldn`t¨.

Marcelo Bugliotti: ¨Scored a third place is a great result, although it doesn`t feel not being at the podium. I know Norberto if fighting the championship and that why he try to pass me with excesive in the last lap. I had a great car that allowed me to recover positions during the 49 laps, without problems with the tire wear¨.

After ninth rounds, Ponce is the new leader in the championship with 76 points, Fontana is second with 75, while Silva continue as the third driver in the fight with 68.

Next round is on September 21th. at San Rafael, province of Mendoza.

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