Ignacio Montenegro scores Riviera pole

Points leader Ignacio Montenegro has extended his advantage at the top of the TCR South America standings after securing pole position for the latest rounds of the season in Riviera.

The Argentine racer – a three-time winner already this season – comfortably made it through the second phase of qualifying before edging out early pacesetter Damian Fineschi to put his Squadra Martino Honda Civic onto pole.

Fineschi had held provisional pole after the first Q2 runs as one of only two drivers to dip below the 1:17s mark and it looked like his lap would be enough to give PMO Racing top spot in the session, but Montenegro’s late improvement saw him beat the Peugeot man by just 0.047s.

Pedro Cardosa was the only other driver to break 1:17s in the session as he took third in his Hyundai – ensuring three different teams, and manufacturers – locked out the top three places on the grid.

Juan Pablo Bessone was fourth quickest ahead of Galid Osman, with the early leader in the race to secure the inaugural TCR Brazil title putting his Cupra onto the third row of the grid alongside team-mate Raphael Reis.

Juan Manuel Casella’s Honda and the leading Toyota of Bernardo Llaver share row four, with the top ten completed by Lynk & Co due Frederick Balbi and Rafael Suzuki.

Suzuki had earlier topped Q1, where a number of fancied runners found themselves knocked out of qualifying at the first hurdle.

Defending champion Fabricio Pezzini could only manage 14th quickest in his Audi with José Manuel Sapag only 17th in his Toyota.