Rodrigo Baptista snares pole in El Pinar

Rodrigo Baptista secured pole in his Audi as the TCR South America field hit the track at El Pinar’s Autódromo Víctor Borrat Fabini circuit ahead of round four of the season.

Raphael Reis set the early benchmark in the session in his Honda Civic with a 1:32.236, ahead of the older Civic of Juan Manuel Casella – who posted a time little over a tenth of a second slower.

Reis would then improve onto a 1:31.871 to extend his advantage over Casella to half a second, with Gonzalo Reilly holding third

Both Pablo Otero and Adalberto Baptista suffered spins as they tried to improve their early times, although the quickest drivers from practice – points leader Pepe Oriola and fellow title hopeful Baptista – had yet to venture onto the circuit.

The remaining runners then hit the track with Rodrigo Pflucker wasting little time in vaulting up to the top of the times in his Hyundai, going 0.155s quicker than Reis on his first flying lap.

Cyro Fontes – on his debut int he Lynk & Co raced last time out by Santiago Urrutia – was also right n the pace as he slotted into fourth, although both Oriola and Baptista found themselves down the order on their first runs, with Jose Manuel Sapag also with work to do in eighth on his return to the series.

Baptista then improved in the Audi to go ahead of Pflucker by three tenths of a second, with Sapag improving up into fourth.

Oriola then managed to get up into fourth spot as the clock ticked down towards zero but he wasn’t able to get on terms with Baptista as he snared pole in the Audi despite a late improvement from Pflucker – with the pair split by 0.140 at the finish.

Reis would end up third quickest as the leading Honda racer ahead of Oriola and Sapag, with Casella rounding out the top six.