Photo: TCR South America

Ignacio Montenegro wins opening race at Oscar Cabalén

Honda driver Ignacio Montenegro claimed the victory in race one at the Oscar Cabalén circuit in the opening round of the 2023 TCR South America Series.

Montenegro took the lead at the start ahead of the Cupra of Raphael Reis, with Reis’ team-mate Galid Osman sitting in third.

The safety car was called into action during the opening lap due to an accident for Fabián Tannantuoni after being tagged by his team-mate Bernardo Llaver, with Reis regaining the lead before the yellow flag.

The race was relaunched after four laps under the safety car, with Reis ahead of Montenegro at the restart. The Honda driver kept close under the Cupra’s rear bumper, as the leading duo opened a gap over Osman.

Fabricio Pezzini in the lead Lynk & Co sat in third place, holding up the pack behind him. Pezzini came under fire from Llaver on lap seven, pulling away as Pezzini was under attack from his team-mate Rafael Suzuki.

Montenegro started his attack on Reis with six minutes to go. Osman also upped his pace, so Llaver couldn’t close the gap to third place. The Honda driver attacked for the lead on lap 12, overtaking the Cupra, with some bodywork bits flying after a slight contact between the two.

Reis fell back, allowing Montenegro to open a discrete gap, as Osman reduced the distance to his team-mate.

At the chequered flag, Montenegro took the victory, with Reis and Osman completing the podium.

Llaver was fourth, followed by Suzuki and Pezzini. Walter Hernández crossed the line in seventh place, followed by Pedro Cardoso and Juan Manuel Casella. Manuel Sapag completed the top ten.

Race two is scheduled for 12:45 local time, 17:45 CEST.