Quietly the South American Grand Prix de 1948 could have inspired Julio Verne to write a book in the best style of "Around the World in 80 Days" or "20.000 Leagues Under the Sea". Is that this competition was an authentic adventure of the Road Tourism since it was disputed over 15.000 kilometers traversing seven countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Chile).
History would have it that the first part of this test, which was played between in Buenos Aires y Caracas throughout more of 9.000 kilometers, take more relevance. But it was not on a whim, but because of everything that happened throughout their 14 stages and for its controversial ending ...
As you might imagine, this grueling marathon - which served to promote the Pan-American route - was not easy to organize. At first the race was going to start in Caracas, but the starting point was rightly changed to Buenos Aires, understanding that it would be very difficult to transport all the competitors - mostly Argentines - to the Venezuelan capital.
The start system was also innovated, giving priority to the participants. Thus, 141 enrolled They were divided into three groups: the Grand Prix winners, the winners of minor races and / or stages and, finally, the non-winners and debutants. The select group that paved the way was made up of Juan Manuel Fangio, the Uruguayan Héctor Suppici Sedes, Oscar Gálvez, Ernesto Blanco (who did not start), Arturo Kruuse, Ricardo Risatti y Emilio Karstulovic. In the second, meanwhile, stood out Juan Gálvez, Pablo Gulle, Domingo Marimón, Eusebio Marcilla, Tadeo Taddia, Rosendo Hernández y Jorge Rodrigo Daly. In the third they stood out Félix Peduzzi, José Froilán González, Daimo Bojanich, Ernesto Petrini y Carlos Solveyra Tomkinson, Among others.
Due to the characteristic of the event, the cars were specially prepared. The engines, for example, were decompressed and the chassis were extremely beefed up. The vehicle fleet was varied, although Ford y Chevrolet they were the majority with 65 and 60 vehicles, respectively. Also, they ran three Mercury and many others Plymouth. There were also two copies of Nash, Lincoln y Buick and a representative of Dodge and at de Soto.
The race, which started on Wednesday October 20, from the beginning had a dominator: Oscar Gálvez, who was unbeatable in the first three stages. Precisely, the third partial triumph of the Ford driver was overshadowed by the accident that cost him his life. Julian Elguea and his companion (they fell from a bridge to a cliff 200 meters high) ...
While the Gálvezs were in charge of the clocks -Juan had won the fourth stage by taking advantage of his brother's delay due to a defect in the steering bar-, Fangio was the protagonist of a great comeback since time had been lost at the beginning of race due to an engine failure. With a devilish rhythm, El Chueco jumped from the 79 º place he occupied in the General at the end of the first stage at the 23 º on the sixth day of action. He even came victorious in the fifth stage, beating Oscar by just over eight minutes. However, the Balcarceño's onslaught was interrupted in the seventh stage - already in Peruvian territory and in the middle of a revolution - by a serious accident, where his companion lost his life. Daniel Urrutia. Marcilla's gesture is still remembered from that incident, who helped Fangio and Urrutia and took them to a hospital ...
THE FANGIO ACCIDENT
When Juan Manuel Fangio began the first part of the Grand Prix of South America made him hopeful of achieving his third victory in 1948. He never thought that this adventure would end nine days later with him in a hospital and mourning the death of his companion Daniel Urrutia. The fateful overturning took place leaving the bridge of Chicama, during the seventh stage. According to Fangio himself, he left the road when he was blinded by the reflection of the lights of his lanterns on the white walls of the houses of the town called Huanchasco, through which the race was passing. “There was a curve to the left that I didn't see. Furthermore, I believed that on the outside of the curve there was a cliff and not an embankment. So I wanted to follow the curve and the car moved, because that piece at the exit of the village was paved. When I grabbed the sand from the shoulder, the car went around and around ”, the Balcarceño reported opportunely, who had astonished in the previous stages by the great speed that he gave his Chevrolet in his eagerness to catch up with Oscar Galvez.
These tragedies produced in the first half of the competition - even two spectators died in another accident - did not intimidate the competitors who had their minds set on reaching Caracas. While some did the impossible to continue in the race overcoming all kinds of obstacles, the Gálvez brothers fought inch by inch for the victory since they found no opposition in any rival.
As it could not be otherwise, the ending had the necessary nuances so that this adventure decidedly occupy a place in the history of the TC. In his attempt to narrow differences with his brother in the last stage, Juan went off the road. Luckily for him, Oscar helped him and towed him in with a fourth. But the good gesture of the Aguilucho was not well rewarded since the engine of his Ford noticed the effort and was seriously injured. Thus, Oscar was losing ground to the point that the first to arrive in Caracas were, successively, Victor Garcia (who stayed with the stage), Marcilla and Marimón, who, given Juan's delay, was already celebrating second place ...
When the night was already welcoming the crowd that was in Caracas, Oscar appeared towed by a late-model Buick. Taking advantage of a decline along the way, Gálvez crossed the finish line and thus, agonizingly, stopped the clocks with a difference of five hours on Marimón, becoming the winner of the test. But Gálvez's joy did not last long since he immediately Fulvio Pastor, the sports commissioner of the event, informed him that his arrival had been illegal because he had crossed the finish line with the engine off. The gesture -not endorsed by the regulation- of Federico Herrero, Oscar's companion, who started the car and crossed the finish line again.
Logically, Gálvez appealed the sanction; but there was no case and Domingo Marimón became the unexpected winner of the competition. Days later, Oscar would have his well-deserved revenge on the return from Lima to Buenos Aires, but that's another story ...
THE PERIPECIES OF MARIMON
Domingo Marimón, winner of the “Buenos Aires-Caracas”, had to go through many hardships to reach the end of the competition. “My race was dangerous and luck abandoned me at the beginning… The first stage was easily won, but a problem with the engine temperature forced me to wait a while and consequently, I lost any chance to win. In the second, I got into a river and the engine stopped, so I also lost a lot of time. In the ninth, I was going at high speed when I felt that the car was not obeying the direction. When I got hold of it, I stopped. When I got out of the car I saw how the left wheel was going towards a ravine. I ran after her for 150 meters and lost an hour "Marimón told the Caracas newspaper "La Esfera". Finally, "Toscanito" was more than eloquent in saying that "In the end I was lucky that firstly I had accompanied Oscar Gálvez".
- Domingo Marimón (Chevrolet), 118h37m18s
- Eusebio Marcilla (Chevrolet), 118h49m59s
- Juan Gálvez (Ford), 119h07m59s
- Salvador Ataguile (Ford), 122h21m45s
- Daimo Bojanich (Ford), 122h30m58s
- Manuel Merino (Ford), 123h58m47s
- Victor Garcia (Ford), 124h02m00s
- Ricardo López (Ford), 124h14m58s
- Guido Maineri (Ford), 125h00m32s
- Tadeo Taddia (Chevrolet), 126h01m03s
- Juan Marchini (Ford), 126h56m11s
- M. Vinardell Mollinero (Ford), 127h32m06s
- Eduardo Orcola (Chevrolet), 127h59m20s
- Dario Ramonda (Chevrolet), 129h20m53s
- Mercury Giuliano (Ford), 129h24m14s
- Ernesto Baronio (Ford), 133h29m49s
- José Lorenzetti (Ford), 133h45m12s
- Fernando Nery (Chevrolet), 143h04m59
- Américo Berta (Chevrolet), 135h05m42s
- José Manuel López (Chevrolet), 135h26m35s
- Angel Pascuali (Ford), 135h35m54s
- Carlos Lagorio (Chevrolet), 137h23m01s
- Miguel Beltrame (Ford), 138h35m24s
- Oreste Casaroli (Chevrolet), 138h51m24s
- Luis González (Ford), 139h01m42s
- Alberto Provera (Chevrolet), 142h03m18s
- Guillermo Merenghini (Chevrolet), 142h07m59s
- Bartolomé Ortiz Sanz (Ford), 142h31m11s
- Eduardo Della Magiora (Ford), 148h31m36s
- Vicente Tirabasso (Ford), 149h19m11s
- René Nelly Pfister (Chevrolet), 151h05m32s
- Guillermo Martín (Chevrolet), 152h05m19s
- Alberto Foilloux (Ford), 152h42m19s
- Roman Balta (Chevrolet), 154h04m51s
- Rafael Leizán (Chevrolet), 155h05m07s
- Herminio Magaracci (Ford), 155h36m01s
- Luis Santos (Ford), 155h50m06s
- Rafael Staccioli (Ford), 157h42m08s
- Hermo Orihuela (Ford), 158h07m59s
- Jordán Senés (Ford), 161h38m22s
- Domingo Sanguinetti (Chevrolet), 165h54m00s
- Eugenio Bría (Ford), 166h04m26s
- José Rodríguez (Ford), 172h23m20s
- Américo Giménez (Ford), 175h40m20s
Average: 80,726 km / h.