Ignacio Montenegro, Rafael Suzuki share Riviera victories
Ignacio Montenegro and Rafael Suzuki took a win apiece in the latest rounds of the TCR South America season at the Riviera circuit.
Having qualified in pole position at the wheel of his Honda Civic, Montenegro secured victory in the opening race of the weekend to extend his advantage at the head of the standings, with Suzuki securing his maiden victory in race two in his PMO-run Lynk & Co.
Montengro was able to control the opening race from the front as he led from start-to-finish ahead of Damian Fineschi, who had started alongside him on the front row of the grid.
Having held onto the lead when the lights went out, Montenegro was able to survive a safety car period caused by Suzuki’s Lynk & Co dropping oil on the circuit to beat Fineschi to the line by little under a second.
Pedro Cardosa would push hard to try and find a way ahead of Fineschi but had to settle for third place, with the fight between the duo giving the leader some breathing space late on.
The Toyota of Bernardo Llaver came through to fourth place, helped by contact early on between Juan Manuel Casella and Galid Osman that dropped Osman out of contention.
Raphael Reis also benefitted to move up into fifth, with Casella able to continue to take sixth before he was handed a penalty post-race that dropped him down to P10 in the final results.
That promoted Diego Nunes up into the top six.
After the engine issues that had put him out of race one, Suzuki bounced back in race two to secure victory having led from start to finish.
Suzuki started from pole alongside team-mate Frederick Baldi and led into turn one, with Balbi being overhauled by Llaver as the Toyota moved into second spot.
Free from the issues that had affected him earlier on, Suzuki was able to build an advantage and was more than three seconds clear when a clash involving Diego Gutierrez and Guilherme Reischl led to the action drawing to a close behind the safety car.
Balbi would end up taking third spot, with Casella taking fourth having survived mid-race contact from the Cupra of Raphael Reis.
Juan Pablo Bessone and Montenegro rounded out the top six.
The next round for the series will be at El Pinar next month alongside the TCR World Tour.