Pablo Piumetto triumphs at San Martín

The Turismo Nacional series returned to the San Martín circuit (4.17km) near Mendoza at the feet of the Andes after a four year absence. It was round nine of the calendar and the victors were Hanna Abdallah in the 1.6 division and Pablo Piumetto in the 2-litre race, the first drivers all year to take repeat wins.

Abdallah had taken his Renault Clio to pole position already on Friday (1:39.303), before winning Heat 1 the following day. The other two 6-lap stints were won by Lucas Mohamed (Volkswagen Gol) and Emiliano Giacoponi.

The smaller cars finished the action that afternoon only a couple of minutes before the Class 3 entrants went out on the track in the pouring rain. With the asphalt barely drier in his group, Luciano Ventricelli set pole position at the wheel of a Volkswagen Bora (1:37.270).

It was a start-to-finish Class 2 win for Abdallah on a sunnier Sunday morning, almost repeating his performance seen at Neuquén. Behind him, a number of participants fought hard for the runner-up spot, which went to Mohamed, whose Gol had been seriously crashed at La Pampa three weeks earlier, but showed no sign of struggle this weekend. This was enough for him to retain his leadership in the standings, 18 points ahead of Adrián Percaz.

Giacoponi completed the podium, not without keeping control of the threatening rivals that were Luciano Bosio, Mariano Pernía and Guillermo Albertengo, all of them in Clios. There was a massive shunt by the Renault of Pablo Ortega who escaped unhurt after six rolls as a consequence of a collision with the similar car of Juan Martín Eluchans.

Class 3 heats were won by the factory Citroën C4s of Matías Rossi and Diego Mungi and Piumetto’s Focus. 44 cars started the event with the blue and white Ford on top of the grid. During the second lap, he went wide in Turn 1 and Rossi led, albeit for a short while, as the Cordoban would catch first position again rather soon.

As is typical in TN, all chasing cars were involved in plenty of clashes, so most of them made it to the parc fermé quite shattered. The Top ten drivers were pushing and they included the likes of Mungi, local man Julián Flamarique (Chevrolet Cruze, later retired with gearbox issues), Guillermo Ortelli (Renault Mégane), Mariano Werner (Peugeot 308), Iván Saturni (Ford Focus), Marcelo González (Peugeot 307), Esteban Tuero (Fiat Linea), Matías Machuca (Ford Focus), Juan Pipkin (Chevrolet Cruze) and a charging Facundo Chapur in his 308, recovering to seventh after starting no less than 23rd.

Matías Rossi leads with 220 points. Chapur is second with 185, Mungi third (138), Werner fourth (135) and Pipkin fifth (133).

The next round will be Río Gallegos (October 19th), the race held further south in the last proper continental town of South America before crossing to the island of Tierra del Fuego.