Raphael Reis and Néstor Girolami claim victory in Buenos Aires endurance

W2 Racing’s Raphael Reis and Néstor Girolami won the TCR South America endurance race in Buenos Aires, after Girolami claimed the lead at the start and opened up an advantage.

The rolling start saw the front-row duo hold position into the first corner, but Girolami managed to pass José Manuel Sapag’s Honda for second at the first corner on the second lap, having run side-by-side in the early corners of the race.

A fired-up Girolami then passed Matías Milla for the lead at the end of the second lap, completing the pass into Turn 1 on lap three.

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Girolami quickly broke free of the chasing trio, leaving Milla to defend from Sapag and the Audi of Rodrigo Baptista in fourth.

Further back, Fabricio Pezzini had moved from eighth up to fifth in his PMO Motorsport Lynk & Co, ahead of the Scuderia CJ Hyundai Elantra of Eugenio Provens and the W2 Racing Honda of Martin Ryba, which had dropped back from fifth at the start.

Milla had to defend heavily from Sapag and Baptista, which allowed Girolami to open up an advantage of several seconds before the pit stops phase.

On lap 13, Sapag locked up a brake and went off the circuit, allowing Baptista and Pezzini past as he dropped to fifth. Pezzini then advanced past Baptista on lap 15, before moving up to second past Milla in the pitstops.

On lap 16 the first pit stops began, with Sapag coming in first to hand over to Esteban Guerrieri, followed on lap 17 by Milla handing over to Juan Ángel Rosso, Baptista handing over to Tom Coronel and Ryba handing over to Pepe Oriola.

Girolami stayed out at the front until lap 20, with Pezzini lapping in second during this stage, before Reis and Ernesto Bessone took over their cars respectively.

In the second part of the race, Reis inherited the lead and had a comfortable run to victory by almost seven seconds from Rosso, with Guerrieri completing the podium in third.

Coronel was fourth in the Cobra Racing Audi, ahead of championship leader Oriola in fifth, with the Spaniard clawing back the two places lost by Ryba in the early phase.

Pezzini was the leading Lynk & Co driver in sixth, ahead of Scuderia CJ’s Damián Fineschi in seventh and team-mate Nicolás Palau in eighth in the second Hyundai Elantra.

The only retirement was the Alfa Romeo of Juan Pablo Bessone and Matías Cravero, which crawled to a halt on the opening lap of the race.

In the championship, Reis has pulled himself up to third with the win, although Oriola still leads with 198 points, eight ahead of Bpatista and 16 ahead of Reis.

The next event is set to take place at Autódromo Oscar Cabalén in Argentina on 4 – 5 December.

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