Reis and Pezzini share wins in TCR South America opener

Reis and Pezzini share wins in TCR South America opener

03 April 2022

TCR South America’s season opener at Velocitta saw Raphael Reis completing a winning debut in the series for the CUPRA Leon Competición with a lights-to-flag victory in Race 1. The Lynk & Co cars of Fabricio Pezzini and José Manuel Sapag finished 1-2 in a second race that turned into chaos thanks to the race control’s mistakes.
In the first race, Reis converted his pole position into an authoritative victory. Behind him, Pezzini kept Juan Ángel Rosso at bay to retain the second place he had stolen to his Argentine countryman during the first lap. Antonio Junqueira was classified fourth ahead of Gabriel Lusquiños who completed a great recovery after starting from P14 due to a technical issue that had prevented him to take part in Qualifying.  
Fabio Casagrande was on pole on the reversed grid for Race 2, with Franco Farina alongside. Despite the latter opened the door of his Peugeot to alert of a technical issue, the start was given and so Reis’ CUPRA swerved into Rosso’s Honda that collected Sapag’s Lynk & Co. Only Rosso couldn’t rejoin. The safety car was deployed for two laps and when it left the track, Casagrande lost the lead to Pablo Otero and clashed with Junqueira whose CUPRA remained stranded on the track. The race control was late in calling the safety car back into action and the field returned on the spot of the incident while the marshals were trying to tow Junqueira’s car. A catastrophe was narrowly avoided, and the safety car intervened again, circulating for several laps before the correct order of the cars was reinstated. Racing resumed with six minutes to go and Pezzini passed Otero for the lead; the latter tried to resist Sapag’s assaults but after they made contact in lap 12, Sapag moved into P2. During the final laps, Otero managed to hold on to third place ahead of Reis, Pedro Aizza and Lusquiños; however, him and Aizza were given 20-second penalties for overtaking during the safety car period and for false restart respectively and dropped to 9th and 10th.
Reis emerged as the first leader of the standings, seven point clear of Pezzini. 
The second event of the season will be on 30 April/1 May at Interlagos, where competitors will take part in a single endurance race.

Velocitta – Race 1
1. Raphael Reis (W2 Pro GP, CUPRA Leon Competición), 15 laps
2. Fabricio Pezzini (PMO Motorsport, Lynk & Co 03), 4.676
3. Juan Ángel Rosso (Squadra Martino, Honda Civic Type R Fk7), 5.125

Velocitta – Race 2
1. Fabricio Pezzini (PMO Motorsport, Lynk & Co 03), 14 laps
2. José Manuel Sapag (PMO Motorsport, Lynk & Co 03), 2.782
3. Raphael Reis (W2 Pro GP, CUPRA Leon Competición), 7.272

Championship points
1. R. Reis, 86 pts; 2. F. Pezzini, 79; 3. JM. Sapag 58 

Picture: TCR South America/Duda Bairros

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