Rodrigo Baptista eases to race one win in El Pinar

Cobra Racing’s Rodrigo Baptista took a comfortable victory in the opening TCR South America race of the weekend at El Pinar in Uruguay, as championship leader Pepe Oriola finishes a distant second.

Brazilian Baptista converted his pole position into a lights-to-flag win in the second event of the series to be held in Uruguay, the Audi driver getting a good start to lead from the very beginning and never be headed.

Spaniard Oriola jumped from fourth on the grid to second when the lights went out, but the Honda driver lacked the pace to be able to take the fight to the leading Audi and the W2 Racing driver had to settle for second.

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Squadra Martino’s José Manuel Sapag claimed third, although the Argentine had to work hard for the final podium position. In the early stages, the Honda driver ran in fifth, and by lap eight he was all over the back of fellow Honda driver Raphael Reis for fourth.

Sapag attempted a pass at the penultimate turn on lap eight but went wide, almost losing fifth, and substantial time to Reis.

But three laps later Sapag had recovered all of his lost ground to Reis, and a lap later he claimed fourth at the first corner of the lap.

That then became third three laps from the finish when Peru Racing Team’s Rodrigo Pflucker went wide at the penultimate corner, with Sapag unchallenged thereafter.

Reis took the chequered flag in fourth, benefitting from the late-race demise of Pflucker, who went from a podium place to seventh in his Hyundai i30 N in the final laps.

PropCar Racing’s débutant Diego Martinez was fifth in his Alfa Romeo, ahead of the PMO Motorsport Lynk & Co of Cyro Fontes in sixth.

Behind Pflucker in seventh was the Audi of Adalberto Baptista in eighth, whilst the second PMO car of Pablo Otero dropped back from eighth to ninth at the end of the race.

Gonzalo Reilly ended the race in the gravel at the hairpin at the end of the long back straight on lap 15, taking him out of what was sixth up until that stage.

Neither the Squadra Martino Honda Civic FK2 of Juan Manuel Casella nor the PropCar Alfa Romeo of Ayrton Chorne took the start of the race.

Race two is scheduled to take place at 13:00 BST (14:00 CEST, 09:00 local time) on Sunday.

Race result

1 13 Rodrigo BAPTISTA Cobra Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 17 26:40.783 1:32.170 1
2 74 Pepe ORIOLA W2 Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 17 9.489 1:32.499 4
3 33 José Manuel SAPAG Squadra Martino Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 17 12.096 1:32.953 5
4 77 Raphael REIS W2 Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 17 24.571 1:32.979 3
5 38 Diego MARTINEZ PropCar Racing Team Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 17 27.787 1:33.457 11
6 52 Cyro FONTES PMO Motorsport Lynk & Co 03 TCR 17 28.058 1:32.627 7
7 47 Rodrigo PFLUCKER Perú Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 17 29.999 1:32.905 2
8 10 Adalberto BAPTISTA Cobra Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 17 38.993 1:34.063 9
9 30 Pablo OTERO PMO Motorsport Lynk & Co 03 TCR 17 49.290 1:33.847 10
10 155 Gonzalo REILLY Squadra Martino Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 + 3 LAPS 1:33.442 8
NS 60 Juan Manuel CASELLA Squadra Martino Honda Civic Type-R FK2 TCR DNS N/A 6
NS 25 Ayrton CHORNE PropCar Racing Team Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR DNS N/A 12
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