PMO Motorsport’s Ever Franetovich and Perú Racing Team’s Rodrigo Pflucker shared the victories in TCR South America’s two races at Río Cuarto in Argentina on Sunday.
Argentine racer Ever Franetovich, making his début in the series this weekend, had clinched the pole position on Saturday with a lap which was over a tenth of a second faster than Peruvian Pflucker.
His team-mate, 63-year-old Ernesto Bessone, had qualified in third in the second of the Lynk & Co cars, with fellow series newcomer Facundo Marques alongside in the best of the Honda Civic cars.
At the start, Frentovich made a strong getaway, whilst behind him Pflucker bogged down and allowed the experienced Bessone into second.
However, that would be short-lived as Bessone slid off the circuit at Turn 2, allowing Pflucker back into second and the Honda of José Manuel Sapag into third, as Bessone dropped to the back of the pack.
At the end of the first lap, Frentovich held a handsome lead over Pflucker, whilst Pepe Oriola, who had started in seventh, made his way up to third in the W2 Racing Honda.
Further back, Facundo Marques held fourth for the opening laps, battling hard with Raphael Reis, Rodrigo Baptista and Sapag. Heading onto lap four, Sapag made up three places in one go on the approach to Turn 1, ahead of Reis and Baptista, as Marques dropped three places in one fell swoop.
At the front, as light rain began to fall, the gap from Franetovich to the chasing Pflucker and Oriola began to fall. On lap ten, Oriola muscled past Pflucker for second, before closing in on the leading Lynk & Co driver.
By lap 13, Oriola was all over the back of Franetovich. Despite applying significant pressure over the final five laps, the Spaniard was unable to find a way past.
Meanwhile, Pflucker kept pace with the leading duo and going into the first corner of the last lap he attempted to pass both, but went off-line.
Nonetheless, as the leading duo battled, Pflucker was back up behind them by the end of the lap and as Oriola went wide at the last corner he bagged second on the line, with Oriola completing the podium places.
Sapag was fourth, ahead of W2 Racing’s Reis in fifth and Maruqes in sixth, whilst the recovering Bessone took seventh ahead of title contender Rodrigo Baptista in eighth.
The second race saw PropCar Racing’s Roy Block start from the reverse-grid pole position, with Adalberto Baptsita alongside on the front row, whilst the second row of the grid was occupied by W2 Racing’s Reis and Oriola.
At the start, both of the front-row men made a slow start, allowing Oriola into the lead and Reis to follow into second.
At the first corner, Rodrigo Baptista, from fifth on the grid, braked too late and nudged Reis into Oriola, whilst Reis was then turned sideways into Adalberto Baptista and Sapag.
Amidst the chaos, Marques slipped into the lead, having started seventh, ahead of Bessone and Rodrigo Baptista, before the safety car was called upon due to Sapag’s stricken Honda in the gravel at Turn 1.
Racing resumed on lap three and Marques quickly had his hands full defending from Bessone. This allowed Frentovich and Pflucker to close in, and on lap five, exiting the first corner, the duo passed both Marques and Bessone for the lead.
Later on in the lap Bessone eventually got by Marques, as moments later the Honda driver picked up a puncture and dropped to the back of the pack.
Thereafter, Pflucker was able to eke out enough of an advantage over Frentovich in the wet conditions to claim a maiden TCR South America win, as frentovich capped off an encouraging maiden weekend in the series with another podium finish.
Bessone held on to third, ahead of new championship leader Oriola in fourth. Rodrigo Baptista was disqualified from the race on lap five for having caused the accident at the first corner on the opening lap, seriously denting the Brazilian’s title chances – although he is now 13 points behind leader Oriola with five races still to run.
Reis claimed fifth, ahead of Adalberto Baptista in sixth and Fabio Casagrande as the leading Alfa Romeo driver in seventh.
Oriola leads the standings with 175 points ahead of Rodrigo Baptista (162) and Reis (129).
The next TCR South America event takes place at Buenos Aires on 12 – 13 November with a two-driver endurance race.
Race one result
|1||114||Ever FRANETOVICH||PMO Motorsport||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||17||20:24.013||1:11.250||1|
|2||47||Rodrigo PFLUCKER||Perú Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||17||0.899||1:11.075||2|
|3||74||Pepe ORIOLA||W2 Racing||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||17||1.124||1:10.752||7|
|4||33||José Manuel SAPAG||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||17||2.013||1:11.051||5|
|5||77||Raphael REIS||W2 Racing||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||17||2.842||1:11.023||8|
|6||88||Facundo MARQUES||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||17||4.506||1:11.275||4|
|7||44||Ernesto BESSONE||PMO Motorsport||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||17||6.424||1:11.063||3|
|8||13||Rodrigo BAPTISTA||Cobra Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||17||14.765||1:11.247||6|
|9||16||Fabio CASAGRANDE||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK2 TCR||17||45.415||1:12.811||12|
|10||10||Adalberto BAPTISTA||Cobra Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||17||47.686||1:14.027||9|
|11||17||Roy BLOCK||PropCar Racing Team||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||17||56.697||1:13.180||10|
|R||70||Matías CRAVERO||PropCar Racing Team||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||3||DNF||1:16.987||11|
Race two result
|1||47||Rodrigo PFLUCKER||Perú Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||20||26:51.485||1:16.399||9|
|2||114||Ever FRANETOVICH||PMO Motorsport||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||20||8.724||1:16.619||10|
|3||44||Ernesto BESSONE||PMO Motorsport||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||20||15.221||1:17.133||8|
|4||74||Pepe ORIOLA||W2 Racing||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||20||15.681||1:17.036||4|
|5||77||Raphael REIS||W2 Racing||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||20||27.342||1:17.173||3|
|6||10||Adalberto BAPTISTA||Cobra Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||20||1:16.887||1:19.123||2|
|7||16||Fabio CASAGRANDE||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK2 TCR||20||1:21.597||1:18.836||12|
|8||88||Facundo MARQUES||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||18||+ 2 LAPS||1:18.920||7|
|9||17||Roy BLOCK||PropCar Racing Team||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||18||+ 2 LAPS||1|
|R||70||Matías CRAVERO||PropCar Racing Team||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||3||DNF||N/A||11|
|R||33||José Manuel SAPAG||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||0||DNF||N/A||6|
|EX||13||Rodrigo BAPTISTA||Cobra Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||5||EXC||5|