Néstor Girolami converted his pole position into a lights-to-flag home victory in the second race of the Kumho TCR World Tour and TCR South America joint event at the Autódromo J. C. Bassi, La Pedrera. This was the first win for him and the new Honda Civic in the World Tour.
The fight for P4 between the top two drivers in the standings – Yann Ehrlacher and Norbert Michelisz – culminated in a contact on the last lap, with Ehrlacher crashing into the wall. So, Michelisz has retaken the lead, four points ahead of the Frenchman, while Rob Huff has moved into third, 19 further points adrift.
First win as well in TCR South America for Bernardo Llaver and the TTA Toyota Corolla; the podium was completed by a determined Pedro Cardoso who had fought for the overall top position before dropping after a contact with Frédéric Vervisch, and Raphael Reis who completed an outstanding recovery from P25 on the grid to tenth.
In the standings, Ignacio Montenegro is still leading, 29 points over Llaver.
The top-ten reversed grid saw Girolami on pole, with Cardoso alongside, while Vervisch and Thed Björk shared the second row. At the start, Girolami sprinted ahead, while Huff from P7 jumped into third behind Cardoso. There was plenty of contacts in lap 1, with Mikel Azcona hitting the wall after a clash with Santiago Urrutia, Ehrlacher hitting a tyre stack in a chicane pushing it into Frederick Balbi’s car that spun and stopped on the track. The safety car was deployed, while Huff passed Cardoso for second, but when racing resumed in lap 4, Huff was ordered to hand the position back. However, the Briton soon repassed Cardoso for good, and the Brazilian then lost two more places to Ma Qing Hua and Michelisz. In the meantime, Azcona retired with the front right of his car damaged following the contact with the wall.
In lap 7, Vervisch made a move to pass Cardoso, they came together and both dropped back several places, while Ehrlacher passed Urrutia for P5. In TCR South America, Llaver was leading, with Montenegro right behind; soon they were joined by Cardoso who passed Montenegro in lap 10. Soon afterwards, Montenegro pitted to change a flat rear tyre and rejoined in the same lap of the leaders.
Ma muscled his way past Huff for second and began to bite into Girolami’s advantage, but the Argentine did not make mistakes and prevented his rival from getting close enough to try an overtaking move. As Girolami, Ma and Huff flew to secure the podium spots, Ehrlacher and Michelisz made contact during the final lap.
After the race, Cardoso was excluded as his car did not comform with the minimum ride height, which promoted Reis and Galid Osman to second and third in TCR South America. Urrutia was dropped from fifth to 11th by a 30-second penalty for the incident with Azcona in lap 1.
TCR South America will resume on 22/24 September in Brazil, at Santa Cruz do Sul, in an event that will also count for TCR Brasil, while the Kumho TCR World Tour will move to Australia to race at Sydney Motorsport Park on November 3/5 together with TCR Australia.
La Pedrera – Race 2 overall
La Pedrera – Race 2 TCR South America
Championship points – TCR World Tour
Championship points – TCR South America
Picture: TCR South America/Hernán Capa