Enrique Díaz Sánez Valiente

Enrique Díaz Sánez Valiente

26/2/1918 - 14/2/1958

Enrique Valiente was an Argentine sportsman. A keen shot, pilot and racing driver. He won a silver medal in pistol shooting (25 meters) at the 1948 Olympic Games in London and the Argentine Sports Car Championship in 1954 and 1955. He also won a round of the World Sports Car Championship, the Buenos Aires 1000 Km in 1955.

Enrique Díaz Sánez Valiente was an Argentine sportsman. A keen shot, pilot and racing driver. His first race was the Gran Premio Internacional del Sur in 1939, a round of the Turismo Carretera series. After winning the first leg in record time in his modified 1935 Ford coupé, he hid when he saw the press and photographers approaching as he knew that his mother, being of a very nervous disposition, would be worried if she found out. She did and, as a consequence, he didn't take the start for the second leg.

He then raced under the non de volant of Patoruzú, a cartoon character to prevent a repeat. He raced on until 1941 when he stopped to concentrate on his flying and shooting. The onset of WWII brought a halt to racing anyway a year later.

He won a silver medal in pistol shooting (25 meters) at the 1948 Olympic Games in London and in 1953 took up racing again with an Arauz-Cadillac. He took a win in Buenos Aires in August and another in September in the Corsa Sport de Ciudad de Buenos Aires. He also finished fourth in the Primo Primavera, Mar del Plata in December. 

Juan Domingo Perón realised that Argentine drivers were at a disadvantage on the world stage as there were no up to date racing cars in the country. He thus gave racing drivers an import duty exemption. That year, 27 new cars raced in Argentina.

Valiente took advantage of this to buy a 4.5 litre Ferrari 375MM and a 5 liter 375 Plus and in 1954 he won the Argentine Sports Car Championship with five wins and a second in the seven rounds.

The following year he won the championship again, with six wins and a second place in the seven rounds. That year he also won the Buenos Aires 1000 Km. There were only four works entries that year, two Ferraris and two Gordinis. Driving a Ferrari 375 Plus with José Maria Ibanez, they took the lead after the Ferrari 375MM of Carlos Najurieta and Oscar Rivero Ferrari hit a dog 18 laps from the finish. Both the works Ferraris were disqualified: the 118 LM of Froilan Gonzales and Maurice Trintignant when Gonzales took a shortcut to the pits after suffering fuel pump problems and the 750 Spider of Umberto Maglioli and Clemar Bucci after receiving outside assistance.

He was killed when the plane he was flying suddenly crashed in February 1958. Two boys were killed too.

Enzo Ferrari sent a personal letter of condolence to the funeral.

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