Mar de Aj? hosted 2003 season opener

A new season of Turismo Carretera started in the circuit of Mar de Ajó. Same scenary where the category finished the last year activity when Guillermo Ortelli (Chevrolet) won his fourth championship in T.C. Like in that race in December the ...

Mar de Aj? hosted 2003 season opener

A new season of Turismo Carretera started in the circuit of Mar de Ajó. Same scenary where the category finished the last year activity when Guillermo Ortelli (Chevrolet) won his fourth championship in T.C. Like in that race in December the protagonist was one men, Ortelli. The category initiated this year with a lot of drivers to fight the championship. By the side of Chevrolet are, of course, the champion. Also Cristian Ledesma (who finished second in the first competition) and fifth in last season tournament. Marcos Di Palma want to became in champion of T.C. too (sixth last year). The question is if Juan María Traverso will be in the fight. The six times champion says that he want to win the championship in 2003 and leave the races. Not an easy dream. The last championship of Ford was in 1999 in hands of Traverso. The Ford fans want again to be in the top. Omar Martínez (sub-champion in `99, `00, `01 and `02) has only one thing in his head: win the championship. The young Diego Aventín fought the 2002 championship and he finished third. After that, Aventín has the capacity and also the experience to became in the champion. The other important card of Ford is Juan M. Silva. He finished fourth in 2002 with one victory. Now the champion of T.C. 2000 in `99 has a great team and the speed necesary to fight for the number 1.

The always present Dodge`s fans has in Ernesto Bessone their biggest hope to get the championship. The last for Dodge was in 1988 with Oscar Castellano. Also this year will joined the category Norberto Fontana. The former driver of F1 and champion of T.C. 2000 will make his debut in the second race of the season with a Dodge. All this are candidates to the championship 2003, but in T.C. there are always sourprises.

After this short analysis of what might be this year the Turismo Carretera, let`s see what happened in the first race of this 2003.

All the weekend was dominated by Chavrolet. On saturday the activity started, as usual, with the qualify session won by Ledesma and followed by the champion Ortelli, Traverso and Balzano also with Chevrolet. The best Ford was in fifth place with Eduardo Ramos (1994 champion). Martínez finished fourteenth, Aventín 36th and Silva 48th., both with mechanics problems. The best Dodge was in hands of Ruben Salerno in ninth position. Nicolás Iglesias was the best rookie finishing tenth with Ford.

On sunday the possibility of rain was present in the heaven of Mar de Ajó.

The first series had an important accident with eight cars in the first cuerve. When the Pace Car left the track Ledesma won without problems followed by Balzano and Fabián Acuña (Ford).

The second series was confortably won by Ortelli with ¨Lalo¨ Ramos second and Rafael Verna (Ford) in third place.

The third series was the most fun for the more of 25.000 fans present in the circuit. It had the presence of Traverso and his rival Marcos Di Palma. During the second lap and engine problem when he was leading put Traverso out of the final race. Di Palama took the leadership near followed by Bessone who tried everything to pass the leader bu it was impossible. Finally Marcos won followed by the Dodges of Bessone and Salerno.

The final race started with Ortelli and M. Di Palma in the first row and Ledesma and Ramos in the second row.

Ortelli took the leadership in the first curve and he never left it until the end. Ledesma passed M. Di Palma in the second lap and a lap later Ramos did the same. The work done by Ortelli and his team in this first race was fantastic. He took a second by lap to his rivals. Something not easy in Turismo Carretera.

The fight for the second place was the most amusing of the competition between Ldesma, Ramos, Bessone, M. Di Palma and Verna. All them together until the rain appeared in lap 15.

When the rain became stronger it was impossible to keep the cars on the track. Finally the rad flag in lap 19 finished the race. This was one of the more convincing victories of Ortelli in Turismo Carretera. The podium was completed by Ledesma and Bessone. Like all the weekend Ramos was the best Ford finishing fourth. M. Di Palma lost positins with the rain and he finished eighth.

Martínez, Silva and Aventín completed a horrible weekend. Martínez only fnished fifteenth, Silva eighteenth, while Aventín couln`t fnish the race with mechanics problems in his car.

Thus was the first competition of this new season of Turismo Carretera. Ortelli leds the championship with 25 followed by Ledesma with 21.

The next race will be in February 16th. in this same circuit. Another victory of Ortelli? Will the Ford boys do a better job? We must wait.

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