Walter Hernández wins Race 2 at the Oscar Cabalén
Walter Hernández in his Lynk & Co claimed victory in Sunday’s second race at the Oscar Cabalén circuit, host of the opening round of the 2023 TCR South America series.
Fabio Casagrande took the lead from the reverse grid pole position, coming under fire from Hernández. The PMO driver overtook for the grid as Casagrande also lost to Fabricio Pezzini, Juan Angel Rosso and Fabian Yannantuoni.
Casagrande continued struggling, colliding with Raphael Reis as the Brazilian tried overtaking on the outside on lap two, with both falling to the back of the pack.
The positions remained stable at the front, with Rafael Suzuki in fifth position, followed by the Toyota Corolla TCR of Bernardo Llaver, who was under increasing pressure from Ignacio Montenegro, winner of the first race in his Honda.
Montenegro overtook Rafael Suzuki on lap eleven for fifth position, with the young Honda driver having Yannantuoni in his sights next.
Juan Pablo Bessone parked his Peugeot 308 TCR on the run-off area on lap 12 with an apparent mechanical failure, without disruption to the development of the race.
Yannantuoni overtook Pezzini for third place on lap 13, with the reigning champion also coming under fire from Montenegro, who also went through for fourth place. Suzuki had a go at his team-mate, but Pezzini held fifth position.
The safety car was called into action as Enrique Maglione parked in the run-off area with a puncture on his Honda. The pack was brought together for the final stages of the race.
The race was relaunched with just over two minutes left on the clock, enough time for three racing laps. Hernández pressed ahead as Rosso fended off Yannantuoni and Montenegro, who soon overtook the Toyota for third place, quickly followed by Suzuki, as Pablo Otero spun out of the race.
At the chequered flag, Hernández won ahead of Yannantuoni and Montenegro completing the podium, with Suzuki right behind.
Pezzini was fifth, followed by Llaver and Galid Osman, Manuel Sapag, Otero and Juan Manuel Casella.
“I’m very happy,” said Hernández, who came out of retirement for this season. “I’m thankful to my team, they gave me a great car and helped me a lot, I’m very grateful for this.”
Montenegro heads the standings on 77 points, with Hernández and Osman sharing second on 53 points.
The next round of the TCR South America is scheduled for the 14-16th of April at the Juan Manuel Fangio circuit in Santa Fe, Argentina.