Pepe Oriola wins both races of first-ever TCR South America meeting

Pepe Oriola dominated the first two races of the new TCR South America series at Interlagos in Brazil, the Spaniard fighting back through the grid in a particularly chaotic second race.

Having qualified in second on Saturday, Oriola got the jump on his W2 Racing Honda team-mate Raphael Reis at the start of race one and never looked back.

Occasional TCR Europe and WTCR racer José Manuel Sapag tried to pass Reis for second on the second lap, but the Argentine was unable to make the pass stick and on lap four he made a mistake which saw him drop back.

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That meant Oriola was able to head off Reis for a W2 Racing 1-2 in the first race of the new series, with Rodrigo Baptista completing the podium in his Cobra Racing Audi after he got past Sapag on lap nine at the first turn.

American racer Paul Holton, making a one-off appearance as a stand-in for Argentine Roy Block, also got past Sapag on lap ten to claim fourth, leaving Sapag to finish in fifth.

Sapag’s Squadra Martino team-mate Ayrton Chorne was sixth, ahead of the second Cobra Racing Sudi of Adalberto Baptista in seventh, MC Tubarão’s Guilherme Reischl in eighth and PropCar Racing’s second Alfa Romeo of Fabio Casagrande in ninth.

Geciel Andrade was the only driver not to finish the race, only completing three laps.

Race two saw the top ten qualifiers reversed, handing pole to Andrade. However, the Brazilian encountered technical issues on the formation lap and couldn’t start from the front.

That effectively gave Adalberto Baptista pole, whilst Reischl, effectively second alongside, seemd to stall and didn’t get away.

Oriola, meanwhile, jumped from ninth on the grid up to second by the first corner, as behind him Chorne and Holton squabbled for third.

By Turn 5 Oriola had assumed the lead ahead of Baptsita, and the Spaniard again never looked back to record back-to-back wins.

The second lap saw Casagrande make contact with Sapag at Turn 2, forcing both wide but able to continue, although they were battling at the rear of the top ten at the time. Casagrande had to later pit for a new front-right tyre.

The most significant incident was on lap five, when Reis careered into the audi of Rodrigo Baptista, who he had initially passed a lap previous.

Reis appeared to lose control of his Honda approaching turn 8 and clattered hard into the Audi, taking both drivers out, although Reis was then disqualified from the race for the incident anyway.

After a couple of laps behind the safety car the racing resumed and whilst Holton tried to attack Oriola he couldn’t find a way past and had to settle for second.

Chorne claimed third, ahead of Adalberto Baptista in fourth, despite a late race pass by Sapag on lap ten which he ultimately couldn’t hold.

Sapag claimed fifth, whilst Reischl was the only other finisher in sixth.

Oriola leaves Brazil with 54 points in the bag, ahead of Holton on 34 and Chorne on 26.

Race one results

POS NO CL NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP GD
1 74 Pepe ORIOLA W2 Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 13 22:25.144 1:42.304 2
2 77 Raphael REIS W2 Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 13 2.948 1:42.370 1
3 13 Rodrigo BAPTISTA Cobra Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 13 6.074 1:42.609 4
4 11 Paul HOLTON PropCar Racing Team Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 13 9.207 1:42.835 5
5 33 José Manuel SAPAG Squadra Martino Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 13 14.646 1:42.567 3
6 25 Ayrton CHORNE Squadra Martino Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 13 23.199 1:43.039 6
7 10 Adalberto BAPTISTA Cobra Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 13 23.344 1:43.846 9
8 37 Guilherme REISCHL MC Tubarão Audi RS3 LMS TCR 13 32.908 1:44.302 8
9 16 Fabio CASAGRANDE PropCar Racing Team Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 11 + 2 LAPS 1:44.064 7
R 55 Geciel ANDRADE MC Tubarão Audi RS3 LMS TCR 3 DNF 1:51.305 10

Race two results

POS NO CL NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP GD
1 74 Pepe ORIOLA W2 Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 26:50.281 1:42.519 9
2 11 Paul HOLTON PropCar Racing Team Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 14 2.381 1:42.525 6
3 25 Ayrton CHORNE Squadra Martino Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 6.127 1:43.117 5
4 10 Adalberto BAPTISTA Cobra Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 13.857 1:43.842 2
5 33 José Manuel SAPAG Squadra Martino Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 20.255 1:43.831 8
6 37 Guilherme REISCHL MC Tubarão Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 20.855 1:45.090 3
R 16 Fabio CASAGRANDE PropCar Racing Team Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 7 DNF 1:48.803 4
R 13 Rodrigo BAPTISTA Cobra Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 5 DNF 1:43.014 7
R 55 Geciel ANDRADE MC Tubarão Audi RS3 LMS TCR 3 DNF 1:50.617 1
DQ 77 Raphael REIS W2 Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 5 DSQ 1:43.223 10
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