Squadra Martino’s Ignacio Montenegro and W2 Pro GP’s Galid Osman were crowned champions in TCR South America and TCR Brasil respectively at the end of the very last race of the season finale in Cascavel. The two races saw victories of Rafael Suzuki’s PMO Motorsport Lynk & Co and Diego Nunes’ Cobra Racing Toyota. Bernardo Llaver, Montenegro’s only contender in the battle for the TCR South America title did his best and finished the two races in third and fourth, but his gap from the Argentine youngster was too much to be filled and a seventh in Race 1 and an eighth in race 2 were enough for Montenegro and his Honda to secure the crown. It was a different story in the battle for TCR Brasil; Osman drove his CUPRA to second in Race 1 and fifth in Race 2, eventually surpassing Montenegro by just one point.
Fabio Casagrande (Squadra Martino, Honda Civic FK7) and Guilherme Reischl (PMO Racing, Peugeot 308) were the winners of the Copa Trophy for TCR South America and TCR Brasil.
Race 1 – Juan Manuel Casella had given the first pole position to the new Honda Civic in TCR South America, beating Suzuk, Llaver and Osman. The championship leader Montenegro had qualified sixth but was demoted to the back of the grid due to an engine change. TCR Brasil points leader Raphael Reis was 12th on the grid after failing to post a time in Q2 due to a broken splitter.
Casella got away slowly at the start, Suzuki took the lead ahead of Osman and Llaver; Nunes, Juan Ángel Rosso and Fabián Yannantuoni followed, with the poleman in seventh position ahead of Reis. Suzuki built a two-second gap, while Montenegro recovered to P11 by the sixth lap. Positions did not change until lap 12, when Nunes retired from P4 with a technical issue. Osman had begun eating into Suzuki’s leading margin, when Casella crashed, and the safety car was deployed in lap 15. Racing resumed for two final laps, and Pedro Cardoso immediately overtook José Manuel Sapag for P7, but at the beginning of the final lap, Montenegro passed both Sapag and Cardoso to finish seventh. Up front Suzuki took his second win of the season from Osman and Llaver.
Race 2 – Fabio Casagrande was on pole of the top-ten reversed grid, with Cardoso alongside him. Both titles were still at stakes as Montenegro was leading by 27 points clear of Llaver in TCR South America and eight points over the pair of Osman and Reis in TCR Brasil. Casagrande had a slow reflex and was swallowed by the field. Cardoso led from Nunes, Rosso, Yannantuoni, Llaver, Osman and Montenegro. Cardoso’s Hyundai slowed and returned to the pits in lap 2, leaving a quartet of Toyota cars on top of the field. The fastest competitors split into three groups: Nunes and Rosso were fighting for the lead, Yannantuoni defended P3 from Llaver and Osman, Montenegro, Suzuki and Reis filled the positions between sixth and eighth. From lap 14, Nunes increased his pace and began to outdistance Rosso. In lap 19, Reis passed Suzuki advancing to P7 and one lap later they both overtook Montenegro, demoting him from sixth to eighth.
Nunes claimed the win from Rosso, Yannantuoni, Llaver and Osman; Montenegro finished eighth, securing the TCR South America title, but losing TCR Brasil’s by one point.
Cascavel – Race 1
Cascavel – Race 2
Championship points – TCR South America
Championship points – TCR Brasil
Picture: TCR South America/Duda Bairros