The end of a thrilling season for the Argentinian Turismo Nacional (TN) series in Viedma saw Facundo Chapur crowned champion in Class 3 and Adrián Percaz the drivers’ champion in Class 2, both behind the wheel of Peugeots, with Cordoban Chapur driving a factory 2.0 litre 308 and the almost-local star from Villalonga Percaz, cheered by 5,000 fans from his town less than 100km away, a 1.6-litre 207.
22-year old Chapur was Class 2 champion back in 2012 and also the Class 3 champion in 2013, finishing second overall last year with Peugeot.
29-year old Percaz had been 1-6 victor in 2010 with a Peugeot 206, always competing for his family outfit (father and team manager Néstor had been a three-time champion between 1982 and 2003).
The Turismo Nacional championship hadn’t paid a visit to the 4.2km long circuit for five years.
On Saturday in Class 2, Yamil Apud put his Chevrolet Corsa on pole position with a time of 1:40.349, before winning Heat 1. Percaz won the second heat and his main rival in the title chase, Renault’s Gabriel Fernández, was first in the third heat, increasing the tension for one more day.
In Class 3, despite having a car heavy with success ballast, Leonel Pernía took pole in his Fiat Linea with a time of 1:36.503. Behind him were the other three championship contenders, Emanuel Moriatis (Ford), Guillermo Ortelli (Chevrolet) and Chapur (Peugeot).
On Sunday, in the Class 2 race, Yapud took his second win in three months, while Renault’s Gabriel Fernández fought hard for the lead with Yapud, but ultimately finished in second just seven-tenths of a second behind. Percaz’s finished fourth, which was enough to take the championship with 258 over Fernández’s 250.
In the Class 3 Heat 1 race, Chapur overtook Perníá with a tight move approaching the fast Turn 1 in fourth gear. Although there were no major consequences, the Fiat team complained and the stewards spent a long time deliberating on the manouvre and watching the on-board cameras before finally deciding there was no action necessary to take against the Peugeot driver. Leonel Larrauri (Honda Civic) and Juan Marcos Angelini (Volkswagen Vento) showed how quick their engines were by dominating Heats 2 and 3, respectively.
Among 35 participants, the whole quartet fighting for the title could be found in the top ten spots of the grid for the main race.
Chapur, who re-signed for Peugeot for 2016, made a good move at the start, but was quiclkly challenged by Angelini and Larrauri, while the rest of the pack kept extremely close to them at least for half the 20 lap event.
With Ezequiel Bosio’s Focus having brake problems while running in fourth, Pernía and Ortelli moved up to third and fifth and Moriatis to eighth. Larrauri had better acceleration than the 308 in several sections, so he ended up taking the lead just three laps from the chequered flag. The last time he won a race was at this circuit nine years ago.
However, in contact with his team by radio, Facundo Chapur knew second was enough to secure him the title.
Team Peugeot Total Argentina wrapped up a championship that follows an amazing string started in 2011 when they were champions with Fabián Yanntuoni (307), second overall with Ezequiel Bosio in 2012 (308), champions with Chapur in 2013, second overall one more time with Chapur in 2014 and now title holders again in 2015.
The final point standingss: Facundo Chapur 246, Emanuel Moriatis 242, Leonel Pernía 236, Guillermo Ortelli 231, Matías Rossi (Citroën C4) 190 and Esteban Tuero (Ford Focus) 183.
The 2016 Turismo Nacional season will kick off at La Plata on February 14th 2016.