With an incredible demonstration of ability, Rod MacLeod won the third race of the Mexican Formula 3 series, which took place Sunday May 26th 1996, in Chihuahua, capital city of the State of the same name, famous mainly for Pancho Villa, the ...
With an incredible demonstration of ability, Rod MacLeod won the third race of the Mexican Formula 3 series, which took place Sunday May 26th 1996, in Chihuahua, capital city of the State of the same name, famous mainly for Pancho Villa, the Mexican revolutionary. The 2000 meter track is also called Pancho Villa Autodrome, and is considered a medium fast circuit. Rod held the pole since Saturday's qualifying and his teammate in the Quaker State Team, brazilian Oswaldo Negri of the Montana Team (cigarrettes), which was celebrating victory in the Indy 500 by one of their sponsored drivers, was second. Waldemar Coronas, argentinian of the Mexlub Team, was third, followed by Gilberto Jiménez, Montana driver winner of the first two races of the series and first mexican driver in the grid. Last year's champ, irishman Derek Higgins from Quaker was next, followed by Allen Berg, the Coca Cola - Sentra Racing leading man.
Race day was very hot,and a race of attrition was expected in the 55 laps to be completed. However, problems started early when both Rod and Waldemar couldn´t fire their cars for the warm-up lap and had to lose their places and start from the back of the pack. Thee start was dominateed by Montana teammates Oswaldo and Gilberto with Derek and Allen following. Behind them came Homero Richards (Corona Beer), Alex Villasana (Canel's Bubblegum), and the Perea brothers, Francisco and Luis Fernando (both Perea Racing) and a host of others. Rod and Waldemar were scything through the field and they passes the boxes at the end of the first lap in places 8 and 9 which soon became 7 and 8 when Derek spun while trying to take second place from Gilberto. He rejoined at the end of the line, although he would pit at the end of the next lap and returned to an uneventful race, for him, with a deranged suspension, trailing the other cars but still competing.
By the next lap Rod was fourth and then took Allen at the end of the main straight to get third, and a little later Waldemar imitated him to become fourth. However, Beto Jiménez was a much harder nut to crack and it took him several laps to pass Beto, but he did it under a yellow caused by Waldemar who got caught in an incident while passing Guillermo Oliveros (Quaker-GO Team), and spun, both of them being eliminated. Rod had to let Beto through and start again in his efforts for second place which were crowned 2 laps after the incident. Homero Richards decided that Allen wasn't looking too good and passed him for fourth place but a few laps later Allen woke up and got back his place and started going after Beto who was following closely Rod, who was having trouble trying to outbrake Oswaldo for first place. Shortly before lap 20 white smoke emerged from Oswaldo's car and Beto tried to pass both Rod and his teammate , Rod closed the door and went by Negri leaving Beto in second place. Now Alex Villasana was hounding Homero and outbraked him easily in one of the turns to take fourth place but Homero came back and retook him a lap later. Rod was slowly getting away and Beto started to feel his engine loose and it by lap 31 he slowed to walking pace, quitting the race. Allen inherited second place and distanced himself from Homero and Alex while Rod was never seen again by his pursuers. Luis Fernando Perea soon reduced the pace but his brother joined Homero and Alex in the fight for third, and slowly Craig Bennett, making his debut for Mexlub in Mexico got in the top 6.
By lap 41 Homero had trouble and had to let Alex and Francisco fight for third. He slowed but managed to keep fifth place under a last lap attack from Craig. The final results were: Rod MacLeod winning in 50 minutes, 56 seconds and 797 thousandths, Allen Berg second with 51' 25" and 913, Alex Villasana 51' 29" 451, Francisco Perea 51' 29" 925, Homero Richards 51' 35" 016, and Craig Bennett 51' 35" 601. This result meant that now Rod leads the Montana Grand Prix International F3 championship with 41 points, Beto Jiménez has 40, Allen 26, Alex 23, and Oswaldo 16, after just 3 races, and the best is yet to come. The preliminary race for Formula Reynards was won by José Ramos, followed by Jose Sierra and Luis Díaz, the latter not being able to hold on to his pole.