Season comes to a close at Mar del Plata

The Turismo Competición 2000 closed it championship in the city of Mar del Plata with a great definition for the champion 2002. Norberto Fontana (Toyota Corolla/TTA) arrived to this fourteen race of the season after win in the last Pigüe and...

The Turismo Competición 2000 closed it championship in the city of Mar del Plata with a great definition for the champion 2002. Norberto Fontana (Toyota Corolla/TTA) arrived to this fourteen race of the season after win in the last Pigüe and with six points of difference over his team mate Omar Martínez (Toyota Corolla/TTA) and nine over J.M. Silva (Honda Civic/HRA). Since 1989 that the T.C. 2000 didn`t arrive to the last competition with three drivers for fight the championship.

No doubt that Fontana and Toyota were the big candidates to get the championship. Toyota won five races this year, one for Martínez and four for Fontana. Besides Norberto is older in the team than Martínez who joined in the third competition of the season after to races with the Pro Racing Team.

Fontana showed his conditions in the track during all the weekend. He finished third in the qualify session with 100k. of ballast in the Toyota Corolla, behind the poleman Gabriel Furlán (Mitsubishi Lancer/GF Motorsport) and Nelson García (Ford Escort/Berta Motorsport). The other two in the championship, Martínez and Silva, qualified nineth and thirteenth each other. The first series had the atractive of the three candidates to the crown 2002. Fontana started from the second position but Esteban Tuero (Honda Civic/HRA) passed him in the first curve. Norberto finished third the series with Martínez fifth and Silva sixth.

Fontana started the final race fifth always with Martínez and Silva behind. In the first curve Tuero showed again his capcacity for the starts. He jumped from third to second leaving the Ford of García behind. After five laps Furlán was leading with Tuero in the back of his Mitsubishi Lancer. Fontana lost the fourth position in hands of the four times champion of T.C., Guillermo Ortelli (Honda Civic/HRA). The strategy of Fontana was always to be ahead of his rivals in the tournament and don`t anter in any friction with oher driver. So first in lap twelth and then in lap sixteenth, Walter Hernández (Ford Focus / Berta Motorsport) and Marcelo Bugliotti (Honda Civic/Pro Racing Team) passed the Toyota driver. All this happened while Martínez and Silva were fighting for the nineth place.

After the fourty eight laps of race, Toyota finished seventh. Enough to get his first championship of T.C. 2000 in his second season in the series. In spite of their tried, Martínez only finished nineth and Silva tenth. The race was won by Furlán near followed by Tuero in second and Hernández. May be this was the last race for Tuero with the Honda Rcing Argentina. The team confirmed Silva, Ortelli and the rookie Martín Basso for 2003. Basso, of 27 years, compited in the Toyota Formula Atlantic in 2000 and 2001 and he finished four the championship in 2000 with one victory. In 2002 he ran in the European Formula 3000 and finished eighth the championship with a second place as his best result.

It was a fantastic season for Fontana, a deserved champion. The first race for Norberto in T.C. 2000 was in Rafaela 2001. Since then he started twenty-six races always withToyota. He won in six times, two in 2001 and four this year with one pole position. Fontana also compited in the most important categoris of the world since his he won the championship of the Swiss Formula Ford in 1993. In 1995 he won the championship of the German Formula 3 against Ralph Schumacher, Jarno Trulli, Alex Wurz, etc. He also won in the F3 Masters of Zanvoort and he joined to Sauber as test driver. In 1996 he finished fifth in the Formula Nippon championship with one victory. In 1997 he ran four races for Sauber in F1 in replace of the Italian Gianni Morbidelli with a nineth place in Silverstone and Hockenheim as his best result. He fnished third the Formula Nippon Championship. In 1998 he couldn`t continue his campaign in F1 because of the lack of money . Norberto continue in Formula Nippon and finished fourth, also he ran seven races in theJapanese GT 500 Series with a Toyota and he finished seventh the championship. In 2000 he compited in some races of CART but again the lack of sponsors put him out. Fontana has 27 years. No doubt, with his talent he should be in F1, but in this world first are the dollars and then the person. Fontana keep showing he is an excellent driver. Toyota finished the championship wit his two drivers in the top positions. The Toyota Team Argentina started in the category in 2000. Since then he won nineth races. Four Fontana, two Traverso and one Martínez. Congratulations for the best team in the 2002 season.

Silva can`t say this was a bad year. He tried until the end to repeat the championship of 1999. The third place is not bad when five races ago the championshp was almost end for him. Also since a couple of weeks Silva is father of his first child.

Win the last race of the season is different to the others if you are not the champion. Why? Because nowbody remember you. Furlán completed a fantastic job this weekend and won his second race in T.C. 2000 since he joined the category in 1994. The first was also with Mtsubishi in September 3th. in 2000 season and also from the pole position.

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Series General
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Alexander Wurz , Martin Basso , Gianni Morbidelli , Esteban Tuero , Norberto Fontana , Omar Martinez , Guillermo Ortelli
Teams Sauber