84 Hours of the Argentine Republic: An unrepeatable party

20 years ago amateur and professional riders mixed in an epic three-and-a-half-day race that took place at the Buenos Aires racetrack.


El 30 anniversary of Argentine Mission with the Torino at 84 Hours of Nürburgring, which were held in August 1999, lit the spark to have a similar race in Argentina, something that had never been attempted. The idea was from the journalist Carlos Alberto Legnani son (Champions), who passed it on to Martin Salaverry, at that time responsible for the Buenos Aires racetrack.

The proposal was simple: allow the participation of anyone who would like to live the experienceWhether you are an amateur or a professional driver and regardless of the type of vehicle. This is how the 84 Hours of the Argentine Republic, which were carried out in the circuit N ° 12 of the porteño scene between the February 23 and 27, 2000.

Juan María Traverso shared a Toyota Corona with Gustavo Der Ohanessian, Nicolás Iglesias and Martín Menem, nephew of the former president. Photo: Jorge Marchesin.

This long-winded competition caused a real stir in the nut environment. So much so that most of the pilots in activity and others who had not competed for a long time participated.

The list of active pilots included Juan María Traverso, Ernesto Bessone, Ruben Luis Di Palma, who competed in the company of his children José Luis, Mark y Patrick; Gabriel y Juan Pablo Raies, Gustavo Der Ohanessian, Oscar larrauri, Cocho Lopez, Luis Soppelsa y Emiliano spataro, among others. While in the group of those who dusted the diver stood out Cacho Franco, Néstor García Veiga, Angel Monguzzi, Carlos Garro, Juan Yannantuoni, Francisco Mayorga, Daniel Mustafa, Alfredo Pisandelli y Ruben Daray.

As there were no restrictions on the cars that could be raced it was decided that the best way to match them was through a one-lap handicap for each less HP of power compared to the most powerful.

This allowed for a varied park that included a Fiat 600, who started with more than 100 laps of advantage; to an old man Peugeot 403 from 1961 already a Torino 380W, which had the plus of being shared by the members of the Di Palma clan and which was the benchmark in terms of power with its 151 HP of the 176 with which it left the factory. Of course there were also more modern models like Peugeot 306, Audi A3, Toyota Corona, Chevrolet corsa y Daewo nubira. Most chose the diesel engine because it allowed fewer stops to refuel.

The race was won by the quartet made up of Bessone, Monguzzi, Sopelsa and Mustafá with an Audi A3. Photo: Jorge Marchesin.

To give the cars greater security, they were all fitted with a tubular structure, which in some cases was removable; seats with five-point belts and fire extinguishers.

Find the model you want in Specific Rules of the Event It was also determined that the participants they had to complete laps by hourly blocks and that there would be a neutralization with a safety car once an hour to allow stopped cars to return to the pits without considering that as outside help.

These 84 Hours of the Argentine Republic caused such a stir that the symbolic start, which took place on February 23 at night in front of the headquarters of the Automobile Club Argentino, was present on Dr. Fernando de la Rua, then president of the country. From the ACA, the cars, which were cheered by more than a thousand people, left for the racetrack to begin the three-and-a-half-day adventure at 1 am on 24.

Peugeot had an official team with two 306. Photo: Jorge Marchesin.

The challenge attracted more than fifty teams, which by regulation had to be made up of four starting drivers and one substitute. Each driver could drive neither less than two hours nor more than four. In total there were 245 runners. At $ 4.000 per "helmet" they raised U.S. dollar 980.000...

Among the crews, the one of the Di Palma with the Torino owned by the businessman stood out, obviously. Marcelo arguelles. The one commanded by Flaco Traverso and that they integrated Gustavo Der Ohanessian, Nicolas Iglesias y Martin Menem, nephew of the former president, on a Crown; and the one composed by Tito Bessone, Negro Monguzzi, Soppelsa and Mustafá on an Audi A3. The Raies also raced with a similar car, Michelangelo Guerra y Luis Perez Companc.

Peugeot y Alfa Romeo They were one of the few brands that had their official teams. The Lion enlisted two 306. In one they alternated Spataro, the Brazilian Cacá Good, Marcelo gonzalez y Juan Pisandelli and in the other four veterans: Nene García Veiga, Pájaro Garro, Paco Mayorga and Alfredo Pisandelli. While the Italian brand presented a 156 for Cocho López, Larrauri, Jose Bianchi and the president of Fiat, Christian Ratazzi, one of the three participants who raced in the 84 Hours of the Nürburgring in 1969 (the others were Loco Di Palma and Cacho Franco).

The boxes became bedrooms for the protagonists of this marathon. Photo: Jorge Marchesin.

During the days of the competition the pits of the Buenos Aires racetrack became dormitories where pilots and mechanics who preferred to be close to the action rested. Although there were motorhomes, some like Traverso preferred to go home and show up a few minutes before their driving shift.

There was not much public, despite the magnitude of the event (the ticket had a value of 5 pesos per day or 10 for all days). Although there were some people on Sunday the 27th when the checkered flag was lowered after completion 10.603 kilometers.

The victory went to the quartet made up of Bessone, Monguzzi, Soppelsa and Mustafá, who dominated the test without major shocks. "The key to victory, in addition to the great car we had, was that we all respected the plan outlined, which was to carry out a regular march so that the car would not feel the driver changes", Tito said after getting off the podium. Not a minor fact: the Audi with which they raced was Soppelsa's private car.

The Alfa Romeo 146 from Zanet, Signore, Ferrari and Ivanoff. Photo: Jorge Marchesin.

The second step of the podium was for Martín Salaverry, Nestor y Federico Carnevallino y Carly cure, with a Daewo Nubira 2.0; and the last step for Cocho López, Larrauri, Bianchi and Ratazzi, after a great job from the former pilot of F1 in the last hour. Of the 52 scored, 49 crews took part and 39 reached the finish line.

In the midst of the 84 Hours of the Argentine Republic, the idea of ​​creating an endurance championship arose, which in principle was going to have several races of 12 and 24 hours, but only a couple were disputed. Even ten years later an attempt was made to refloat this test, but it did not cause the desired enthusiasm and everything came to nothing.

Today these 84 Hours seem crazy, the kind that one would like to repeat often ...

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Diego durruty

Journalist with 30 years of experience. Worked in magazines STROKE, The graphic, Coequipier y Only TC, on the Internet sites SportsYa!, e-driver.com y kmcero.com and on the radios Rock pop y Vorterix.com. He covered the Dakar rally for the German agency dpa. He currently drives Two Daring Guys, a car magazine that is broadcast on Tuesdays from 18 to 19 by RadioArroba.com; is editor of motorsport in Red Bull Argentina, columnist on the show WorldSport (AM Splendid) and in Surf & Rock FM.  He is also a teacher in SPORTS. Now you can read it on his blog: automundo.com.ar.

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