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Page 49 of 88

A ROLLER COASTER RIDE Jorge Sampietro’s Tough Journey To The SCORE TT Spec Championship By Gabriel Garcia Photos by Get Some Photo Portrait photo by Jack Wright Nmedia3 Jorge Sampietro took two years to be crowned again in the SCORE Trophy Truck Spec class. It was an achievement that he captured with some anguish during the last SCORE Baja 1000 race, and that has him already thinking about fighting for another in 2023. Sampietro and the JS Racing team’s 2022 SCORE Season adventure began with the SCORE San Felipe 250, a race in which he drove his Mason Motorsports Chevy with a nice qualifying run. Sampietro, who has Argentinean roots through his paternal family, advanced along the race course and suffered a couple of punctures on the Zoo Road, losing time and seven positions. When he arrived at the finish line on the port’s boardwalk, he suffered an accident, hitting a concrete barrier and experiencing moments of anguish when he almost took some spectators with him. It was a mistake that SCORE International officials penalized, causing a second-place finish and moving him into seventh place. During the SCORE Baja 500, Sampietro and his co-driver Abelardo Ruanova, who was a key player in getting the championship title, overcame two punctures and the dust of competitors from categories such as the Score Trophy Truck Legend and Class 1, to take the victory and place themselves in a better position in the battle for the class championship. At the SCORE Baja 400, Sampietro and Ruanova were focused on fighting for a very good starting position in the SCORE Baja 1000 race. They counted on a good qualifying run, but the team had a flat tire halfway through the track which cost them some time and a good starting position. Nonetheless, on race day, Sampietro and the team avoided making mistakes and took a steady pace. After one of their competitors, Dustin Grabowski missed a virtual checkpoint, Sampietro took advantage of a clean run and finished in third place. This gave them the opportunity to start the SCORE Baja 1000 upfront. With the championship fight with another top competitor, Christopher Polvoorde, Jorge Sampietro decided to join forces with Dan Fresh at the SCORE Baja 1000. During the race, they began having problems near Cohabuzo, which made everyone on the team think that the title was slipping away, especially with Polvoorde running a stellar pace in the first part of the competition. Encouraged by his team not to give up, Sampietro continued in the race, with the unexpected news that Polvoorde had blown the engine of his truck. This allowed Sampetro and the team to maintain real hopes for the championship title. Now focused on finishing, they began to have transmission problems and pitted at Valle de la Trinidad, and took a long time to replace the transmission. Although it allowed nearly the rest of the SCORE TT Spec field to pass them as they worked on the truck, the team managed to make the repairs and arrived at the finish line in 14th place. Despite the poor finish, Sampietro and the team still had enough points to win the SCORE TT Spec Championship by 16 points over Elijah Kiger. Sampietro was overjoyed at winning the 2022 Championship. “You win a race and the taste is very special,” he said. “But a championship is something you savor more, it is the fruit of the work of all the races.” New Spec Truck for 2023 For the 2023 Score World Desert Championship, Sampietro and the JS Racing team will have a new G2 model truck, which is being built by Mason Motorsports. They will start the 2023 SCORE Season, the SCORE San Felipe 250, in the older Mason G1, but possibly for the SCORE Baja 500 in June the new G2 will be ready, and give a new dimension to the Mexican team. “We are going to defend the championship, of course,” said Sampietro. “We are going step by step and see how we evolve throughout the season, so we are very excited as a team.” Sampietro is also excited about the 2023 SCORE Baja 1000 Peninsula race that will run from La Paz to Ensenada. “We can’t wait as the backward (South to North) routes will be very important,” he said. “The fans of Baja California South are unique, they have always treated us in an excellent way, and it will be very different, since in that area we will go together, unlike when there is the finish line, the race is already more defined”. The SCORE Trophy Truck Spec class is one of the categories that has attracted more attention in recent years, something that Jorge Sampietro sees as positive, “It already has years of being at a very competitive level, but now the number of great drivers, good cars, and teams gives a special excitement to each race, and with many options to take the checkered flag”. SJ

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