Photo: TCR South America

Raphael Reis claims the first pole position of the year at Oscar Cabalén

W2 Pro GP driver Raphael Reis scored the first pole position of the 2023 TCR South America season after topping the times in qualifying at the Oscar Cabalén circuit in Córdoba.

The session was delayed due to a power cut in Córdoba but the entire field took to the track as soon as the green flag was out, with Enrique Maglione’s Honda ending up stuck on the grass after a couple of minutes. Pablo Otero in his Peugeot 308 TCR also went wide, having to abort his first attempt at qualifying.

José Manuel Sapag spun off the track seven minutes into the session with the Toyota Corolla TCR whilst fellow Toyota driver Adalberto Baptista also went straight at the same spot, with Sapag’s car still stuck on the run-off area.

Diego Gutiérrez spun on the track coming onto the main straight on a flying lap, parking his Peugeot 308 on the side. The session was red-flagged in order to recover Gutiérrez’s car, as Reis in his Cupra led the Q1, two-tenths ahead of Bernardo Llaver’s Toyota.

The participants returned to the track with eight minutes left on the clock, with the lap times improving with every lap in the fight for the promotion to the Q2.

The Q1 finished with Reis on top, followed by his team-mate Galid Osman, Llaver and Rafael Suzuki’s Lynk & Co.

Q2 started with the twelve drivers to have made it through taking to the track, with Frederick Balbi going wide as he entered the main straight for his flying lap, with the Uruguayan able to keep the car straight on the track.

Reis gave no option to his rivals, rising to the top with a lap time of 1:33.400, 0.636 seconds faster than Ignacio Montenegro’s Honda and 0.873 ahead of his team-mate Osman.

Llaver qualified in fourth place, already 1.1 seconds off the pace, followed by Fabián Yannantuoni, Fabrizio Pezzini and Rafael Suzuki.

Juan Angel Rosso was eighth, 1.4 seconds off the pace, followed by Walter Hernández and Fabio Casagrande, who will start from the inverted grid pole position in Race 2.

The TCR South America field returns to the track on Sunday morning for Race 1 at 9:00 local time (14:00 CEST).