Juan Maria Traverso He is one of the great legends of Argentine motorsport. Throughout three decades of sports campaign he played more than 700 races and 155 wins. However, everyone is very aware of the feat achieved by the April 3, 1988 in the Rio Negro circuit of General Roca.
In that competition Traverso had qualified third, but in the start he lost two positions. With the passing of the turns, he recovered and positioned himself behind Silvio Oltra, leader.
The fight between the two for first place was intense and lasted for 36 laps until Traverso overtook Oltra, taking advantage of the fact that he was covered by a laggard. As soon as El Flaco took the lead, the oil hose was cut and his Renault Fuego was covered in smoke with four laps remaining.
The normal thing would have been for the pilot of the Buenos Aires town of Ramallo to leave, but no. He continued despite the smoke and flames that came out from under his car and crossed the finish line victorious.
“I had to open the window to breathe. Lap times went up because oil was wetting a rear wheel and the car became unmanageable; if the race had one more lap, I think it didn't come because the oil pressure had already started to drop and the engine's performance had decreased ”, Traverso told when he got to the pits
Even today, El Flaco remembers that feat. According to himself, it is among his five best victories. “I won the kind of races that you think you can't win. That day I said to myself, 'this is all on fire', but I reached the end and won. Oltra, who was coming after me, thought I was going to stop and that's why it didn't happen to me. Why was he going to jump to me if it was obvious that he was going to stop? But everything was given and I was able to finish ", he recalled recently.
After receiving the checkered flag, Traverso pulled his car to the side and got out. The audience immediately invaded the dance floor and came looking for him to applaud and thank him for so much courage. A group of people put him on his men and carried him to the podium, the least for someone who that day, more than ever, demonstrated his sacred fire.