Squadra Martino Honda racer Ignacio Montenegro and PMO Motorsport Lynk & Co driver Rafael Suzuki shared the victories in the pair of TCR South America races at Rivera in Uruguay on Sunday.
On Saturday, Montenegro edged his Honda to a second pole position of the season in qualifying, beating PMO Racing’s Damián Fineschi – making his first sprint race appearance in the series – by just 0.047 seconds.
At the start of race one, Montenegro held the lead in the first sequence of turns, as Fineschi found himself under pressure from the chasing Scuderia Chiarelli Hyundai of Pedro Cardoso, although the latter wouldn’t find a way through.
Further back, Montenegro’s team-mate Juan Manuel Casella knocked into W2 Pro GP’s Galid Osman, sending the CUPRA driver into a slide and causing the chasing pack to bunch up mid-corner, as Osman dropped to 11th having started from fifth.
Another incident on the opening lap also eliminated Squadra Martino’s Enrique Maglione and the Paladini Racing Toyota duo of Juan Ángel Rosso and Fabián Yannantuoni.
Racing continued until lap five, when the safety car had to be deployed after PMO’s Suzuki suffered from an engine failure and dropped oil on the circuit. Suzuki had already had an engine change after qualifying.
The biggest losers in the drama was Osman, who stopped on the circuit, and Alfa Romeo racer Michel Bonnin, who spun off.
Racing resumed on lap 11 after a lengthy period behind the safety car. Montenegro faced pressure from Fineschi as the leading quartet remained close, but there were little changes in the closing laps.
Thus, 18-year-old Argentine Montenegro claimed his fourth win of the season ahead of Fineschi and Cardoso, with Toyota’s Bernardo Llaver in fourth after gaining all his ground at the start.
Raphael Reis was fifth as the leading CUPRA, ahead of Diego Nunes’ Cobra Racing Toyota in sixth. The Brazilian gained a place on the last lap when PMO’s Frederick Balbi suffered from a suspension failure going on to the final tour and dropped out of the place after stopping on the main straight.
PMO Racing’s Juan Pablo Bessone was seventh, ahead of reigning champion Fabricio Pezzini – on his first outing an a Paladini Racing Audi – in eighth.
The top ten was completed by Squadra Martino’s Fabio Casagrande and Casella – who had finished in sixth on the road but was demoted four places for contact with Osman earlier in the race.
For race two, Suzuki would start from pole – his car having had another engine change after race one – after he qualified in tenth on Saturday.
The Brazilian made a good start to hold his advantage, as behind him Toyota’s Llaver jumped ahead of Balbi at the start to seize second.
Balbi clung on to third, and thereafter the podium order would not change, as Suzuki pulled clear at the front.
The race had to be neutralised seven minutes from the end when PMO Racing team-mates Diego Gutierrez and Guilherme Reischl crashed out, with both Peugeots ending up stranded by the trackside.
When racing resumed, there was little time left for battling, and so Suzuki claimed a maiden win in the championship.
Casella was fourth, despite contact from Reis half-way through the race, ahead of Montenegro in fifth – the young Argentine making steady progress throughout the race.
Reis took sixth, after dropping three places in his battle with Bessone, ahead of the leading Peugeot of Juan Pablo Bessone in seventh, although he had finished in fifth before being penalised for contact with Reis.
Fineschi briefly ran has high as sixth but finished in eighth, a mistake on lap 16 costing him places to both Montenegro and Reis.
The top ten was completed by Paladini Racing Toyota duo Yannantuoni and Rosso, just ahead of Audi team-mate Pezzini.
Race one result
|1||23||Ignacio MONTENEGRO||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||18||27:15.233||1:18.567||1|
|2||36||Damián FINESCHI||PMO Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||18||0.753||1:18.548||2|
|3||43||Pedro CARDOSO||Scuderia Chiarelli||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||18||1.016||1:18.567||3|
|4||17||Bernardo LLAVER||Toyota Team Argentina||Toyota Corolla GRS TCR||18||2.727||1:18.507||8|
|5||77||Raphael REIS||W2 Pro GP||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||18||3.270||1:18.535||6|
|6||70||Diego NUNES||Cobra Racing Team||Toyota Corolla GRS TCR||18||8.026||1:19.048||10|
|7||7||Juan Pablo BESSONE||PMO Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||18||9.357||1:18.780||4|
|8||1||Fabricio PEZZINI||Paladini Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||18||11.749||1:19.242||13|
|9||34||Fabio CASAGRANDE||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||18||14.105||1:19.072||15|
|10||60||Juan Manuel CASELLA||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||18||4.470||1:18.439||7|
|11||33||José Manuel SAPAG||Toyota Team Argentina||Toyota Corolla GRS TCR||18||15.304||1:19.127||16|
|12||37||Guilherme REISCHL||PMO Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||18||25.529||1:20.056||18|
|13||90||Michell BONNIN||Alfa Racing||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||18||26.329||1:20.661||17|
|14||10||Adalberto BAPTISTA||Cobra Racing Team||Toyota Corolla GRS TCR||18||1:03.092||1:21.421||20|
|15||55||Diego GUTIERREZ||PMO Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||17||+ 1 LAP||1:21.240||19|
|16||24||Frederick BALBI||PMO Motorsport||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||16||+ 2 LAPS||1:18.525||9|
|17||28||Galid OSMAN||W2 Pro GP||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||13||+ 5 LAPS||1:18.829||5|
|R||2||Juan Ángel ROSSO||Paladini Racing||Toyota Corolla GRS TCR||1||DNF||1:52.251||11|
|R||5||Fabián YANNANTUONI||Paladini Racing||Toyota Corolla GRS TCR||1||DNF||2:09.162||12|
|EX||8||Rafael SUZUKI||PMO Motorsport||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||3||EXC||1:19.266||21|
|EX||15||Enrique MAGLIONE||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||1||EXC||2:18.475||14|
Race two result
|1||8||Rafael SUZUKI||PMO Motorsport||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||22||32:54.584||1:18.604||1|
|2||17||Bernardo LLAVER||Toyota Team Argentina||Toyota Corolla GRS TCR||22||1.065||1:19.007||3|
|3||24||Frederick BALBI||PMO Motorsport||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||22||2.074||1:19.028||2|
|4||60||Juan Manuel CASELLA||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||22||2.899||1:19.317||4|
|5||23||Ignacio MONTENEGRO||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||22||4.390||1:18.952||10|
|6||77||Raphael REIS||W2 Pro GP||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||22||4.856||1:19.168||5|
|7||7||Juan Pablo BESSONE||PMO Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||22||3.794||1:18.899||7|
|8||36||Damián FINESCHI||PMO Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||22||5.349||1:19.049||9|
|9||5||Fabián YANNANTUONI||Paladini Racing||Toyota Corolla GRS TCR||22||6.051||1:19.321||13|
|10||2||Juan Ángel ROSSO||Paladini Racing||Toyota Corolla GRS TCR||22||7.705||1:19.455||12|
|11||1||Fabricio PEZZINI||Paladini Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||22||8.904||1:19.583||14|
|12||43||Pedro CARDOSO||Scuderia Chiarelli||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||22||9.197||1:19.001||8|
|13||15||Enrique MAGLIONE||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||22||9.847||1:19.370||15|
|14||70||Diego NUNES||Cobra Racing Team||Toyota Corolla GRS TCR||22||11.352||1:19.219||11|
|15||34||Fabio CASAGRANDE||Squadra Martino||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||22||12.239||1:19.339||16|
|16||90||Michell BONNIN||Alfa Racing||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||22||14.454||1:20.632||18|
|17||10||Adalberto BAPTISTA||Cobra Racing Team||Toyota Corolla GRS TCR||21||+ 1 LAP||1:21.080||21|
|R||55||Diego GUTIERREZ||PMO Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||16||DNF||1:20.899||20|
|R||37||Guilherme REISCHL||PMO Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||16||DNF||1:19.718||19|
|R||28||Galid OSMAN||W2 Pro GP||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||3||DNF||1:19.045||6|
|R||33||José Manuel SAPAG||Toyota Team Argentina||Toyota Corolla GRS TCR||1||DNF||1:32.512||17|