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Fabio Casagrande and Esteban Guerrieri emerge victorious at Termas de Río Hondo

Squadra Martino’s Fabio Casagrande earned a first-ever victory in TCR South America after teaming up with Esteban Guerrieri for the endurance race at Termas de Río Hondo.

Casagrande – who has not had a podium finish all year and not since the second-ever event in the series last year – inherited the lead after Guerrieri had put in a strong first stint, lifting the duo’s Honda from eighth on the grid to an early lead.

Guerrieri had risen to fourth on the opening lap, in particular picking off three cars in one go into the hairpin at the end of the back straight.

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Pole-sitter José Manuel Sapag had been the early leader of the race, but on lap three he was passed by all three of the chasing Hondas of Néstor Girolami (sharing with Ignacio Montenegro), Juan Ángel rosso (sharing with Ricardo Risatti) and Guerrieri.

Guerrieri advanced into the lead on lap six, in part helped by contact between Rosso and Girolami on lap five, dropping Rosso down to third behind Guerrieri, whilst Guerrieri then passed WTCR team-mate Girolami for the lead a lap later.

When Guerrieri came into the pits to hand over to Casagrande at the halfway stage he had built up a margin of almost five seconds.

Casagrande held an initial lead of 7.5 seconds over Alceu Feldmann with 20 minutes to go, but he was reeled in by the chasing pack.

With five laps to go, Casagrande only had a gap of seven tenths of a second over the chasing cars of Feldmann and Montenegro, whilst Mikel Azcona, sharing with Pedro Aizza, was only three seconds further back.

On lap 28, Feldmann overtook Casagrande for the lead, with Montenegro also passing Casagrande in an opportunistic move at the same time.

Not long later, Azcona also pounced on Casagrande to take third, before the Spaniard moved on Feldmann in the closing laps.

The Hyundai driver passed Feldmann’s CUPRA several times, before Feldmann unceremoniously hit Azcona into a spin and dropped them both behind Casagrande. Feldmann was later thrown out of the results for the move.

That left Crown Racing’s Montenegro leading the race, but the Honda overheated with just a minute and a half to go, giving the lead back to Casagrande; Montenegro thus didn’t complete the last lap and was classified in 13th.

Casagrande ultimately won a race in the series at his 22nd time of asking, with Aizza and Azcona classified in second after Feldmann (sharing with Matías Milla) was thrown out.

The podium was completed by the PMO Motorsport Lynk & Co 03 of Fabricio Pezzini, sharing with Carlos Okulovich.

The all-new Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla of Jorge Barrio and Thiago Camilo ran strongly in the opening laps, after having qualified in sixth, but ultimately completed just 17 laps due to a suspension issue, following a lengthy pitstop.

In the championship, Pezzini was the biggest benefactor, extending his advantage to 72 points over Rosso with his podium finish. Raphael Reis finished in just 14th (last on the road) after Bernardo Llaver, his co-driver, went wide on lap three and had to pit – as such Reis is now 84 points adrift of Pezzini.

The next race takes place at Buenos Aires for a pair of sprint races on 16 – 18 September.

Race result

1 34 Fabio CASAGRANDE Esteban GUERRIERI Squadra Martino Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 32 1:01:16.110 8
2 35 Pedro AIZZA Mikel AZCONA Scuderia Chiarelli Hyundai Elantra N TCR 32 8.831 1:49.406 9
3 7 Fabricio PEZZINI Carlos OKULOVICH II PMO Motorsport Lynk & Co 03 TCR 32 16.103 7
4 60 Juan Manuel CASELLA Federick BALBI PMO Racing Peugeot 308 TCR 32 17.514 13
5 15 Enrique MAGLIONE Rodrigo ARAMENDIA PMO Racing Peugeot 308 TCR 32 23.474 19
6 6 Pedro NUNES Marcio BASSO PMO Motorsport Lynk & Co 03 TCR 32 39.634 14
7 22 Gabriel LUSQUIÑOS Vitor GENZ Cobra Racing Team Audi RS3 LMS TCR 32 46.453 17
8 87 Franco FARINA Guilherme REISCHL PMO Racing Peugeot 308 TCR 32 49.947 20
9 26 Juan Ángel ROSSO Ricardo RISATTI III Squadra Martino Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 31 + 1 LAP 2
10 33 José Manuel SAPAG Santiago URRUTIA PMO Motorsport Lynk & Co 03 TCR 31 + 1 LAP 1
11 10 Adalberto BAPTISTA Sergio RAMALHO Cobra Racing Team Audi RS3 LMS TCR 31 + 1 LAP 16
12 18 Javier SCUNCIO MORO Martín SCUNCIO MORO FDC Hyundai i30 N TCR 31 + 1 LAP 12
13 29 Ignacio MONTENEGRO Néstor GIROLAMI Crown Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 30 + 2 LAPS 5
14 77 Raphael REIS Bernardo LLAVER W2 Pro GP CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 25 + 7 LAPS 3
R 14 Matías CRAVERO Martín CHIALVO Squadra Martino Uruguay Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 22 DNF 15
R 73 Juan Pablo BESSONE Isidoro VEZZARO Squadra Martino Uruguay Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 21 DNF 10
R 88 Facundo MARQUES Franco COSCIA Squadra Martino Honda Civic Type-R FK2 TCR 18 DNF 11
R 32 Jorge BARRIO Thiago CAMILO Toyota Gazoo Racing Latin America Toyota Corolla GRS TCR 17 DNF 6
R 13 Pablo OTERO Bia FIGUEIREDO Crown Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 12 DNF 18
EX 17 Alceu FELDMANN Matías MILLA W2 Pro GP CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 32 7.378 4
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