Photo: TCR South America

Rosso wins again in TCR South America race marred by startline crash

Juan Angel Rosso made it two wins out of two at Uruguay’s Autódromo Eduardo Prudêncio Cabrera in the fourth event of the TCR South America season.

Honda Civic Type R TCR driver Rosso started 10th on the reversed grid for the longer race of the weekend, although he got moved up one spot as the race was restarted.

Front-row starters Guilherme Reischi and Franco Farina both stalled, and while Farina did eventually get going there was no such luck for Reischi as the rear-right of his Audi RS3 LMS was struck by the front-left of Edson Reis’ Hyundai Elantra N.

While the impact spun Reischi off the track, it pivoted the rear of Reis’ car around so he was then struck side-on by Adalberto Baptista’s Audi.

The race was red flagged for over 15 minutes as debris that was strewn across the pit straight had to be cleared, as well as the three crashed cars, and Reis received medical attention.

A restart took place with the original grid but without those who had crashed, which also included the Lynk & Co 03 TCR Márcio Basso, and once again Farina was slow off the line but somehow still led approaching the first corner. Juan Manuel Casella had the inside line though, and was ahead once they hit the brakes.

Farina then dropped multiple places, and later ended his race in the barriers, as Pedro Aizza pursued Casella and points leader Fabricio Pezzini headed a train of cars in third place. Pezzini was soon able to break away from them and managed to latch himself onto the front two, but there was no action between the lead trio until the second half of the 21-lap race when they were running nose-to-tail.

On lap 13 of 21, Aizza had a wide moment and it allowed Pezzini through into second. He started attacking Casella the next lap but could not find an opening, so bided his time.

The front three were being chased down by Rosso, who had passed one car on the opening lap but made steady progress to join a multi-car battle for fifth after a few laps. He got himself to the front of that group of cars halfway through the race, forcing his way past Manuel Sapag after the opening corner and then hunting down Rodrigo Aramendia to get into fourth before the end of the lap too.

By lap 16 he was with the lead trio, and when he went to pass Aizza they appeared to make contact as the latter went way off track and rejoined a distant fourth. Rosso was then nudging Pezzini into the final chicane, but didn’t get a chance to pass him before Farina crashed out and the safety car was summoned.

Racing resumed with two laps to go, and the lead quartet ran nose-to-tail. This time Pezzini was the instigator of contact, almost punting around Casella into the chicane. He then did hit the leader off on the final lap, but first place wasn’t his for long as Rosso got past a few corners later to take a second victory in a row.

Pezzini held off Aizza to provisionally finish second, while Alceu Feldmann went on a charge either side of the safety car period to take fourth place.

A last-lap pass on Aramendia meant the latter came fifth, having very briefly been fourth after Casella was pushed off, and Fabio Casagrande got by Sapag at the end to secure sixth place.

Casella was able to reverse his way back onto the track to finish 10th, the last driver on the lead lap.

Pezzini continues on top of the standings with 286 points while Reis is second on 256 points.

The next TCR South America race takes place on August 6-7 at El Pinar.