PMO Motorsport’s Fabricio Pezzini and Javier Merlo were victorious in the TCR South America endurance race at Interlagos, ahead of Squadra Martino’s Juan Ángel Rosso and Ricardo Risatti.
At the rolling start, pole-sitter Gustavo Lima, who is guest driving the W2 Pro GP CUPRA with Raphaael Reis, lead away from the lights, as José Manuel Sapag moved into second ahead of Lynk & Co team-mate Pezzini.
Pezzini passed Sapag for second at Turn 4, the duo having made slight contact a corner previously as Pezzini sought to quickly get on with closing in on the leader.
However, Sapag immediately reclaimed the place and Pezzini only got by at the penultimate corner of the lap, by which stage Lima was in a clear lead as the pack bunched up behind the podium places.
As the early stages of the race developed, Pezzini closed in the initial lead built up by Lima and on lap nine he dived down the inside at the first corner to take the lead.
Four laps later, Lima lost second to Pedro Aizza’s Scuderia Chiarellia Hyundai Elantra at the first corner, as Aizza completed a superb pass around the outside.
Driver changes followed at the halfway point, but by this stage Pezzini had opened up a comfortable lead and eventually took the win by just under four seconds from Aizza.
Aizza’s lost second but his co-driver Rodrigo Sperafico had recovered the place past Reis and Juan Ángel Rosso in the second half of the race.
Rosso and co-driver Risatti claimed the final podium place in their Squadra Martino Honda.
On the last lap, Sapag’s co-driver Marcelo Ciarrocchi took fourth from Reis, who finished the race in fifth.
Victory for Pezzini – his second in a row – has moved the Argentine to 11 points clear at the top of the drivers’ standings from Reis.
The next event takes place at Goiânia on 4 – 5 June.