Photo: TCR South America

Juan Manuel Casella claims last pole of 2023 at Cascavel

Squadra Martino driver Juan Manuel Casella scored a close pole position for the 2023 TCR South America season finale at Cascavel.

Bernardo Llaver, driving a Toyota Corolla TCR from Toyota Team Argentina, was fastest after the first stint in Q1, with a lap time of 1:06.269, with his main rival for the title, Squadra Martino’s Ignacio Montenegro (Honda Civic Type R TCR) in seventh place, four-tenths behind.

Montenegro continued on track, improving to fifth place, as Diego Nunes (Toyota) climbed up to second place ahead of Rafael Suzuki, driving a Lynk & Co 03 TCR from PMO Motorsport. Fabián Yannantuoni (Toyota) stole the third spot with five minutes to go.

Squadra Martino’s Fabio Casagrande (Honda) struggled for pace, with the Brazilian in 13th place. Casagrande just managed to climb up to ninth position with his last attempt.

Galid Osman (Cupra Leon Competición) went fastest with two minutes left on the clock, but Llaver quickly recovered the top spot, with Casella in third place and Suzuki in Fourth.

Diego Nunes (Toyota) also went through to Q2, followed by Yannantuoni, Montenegro, Juan Ángel Rosso (Toyota), Casagrande and Raphael Reis (Cupra Leon Competición from W2 Pro GP). Pedro Cardoso (Hyundai) and Guilherme Resichl (Peugeot) completed the top 12.

The ten-minute Q2 started with Montenegro and Casagrande as the first to take to the track, but it was Osman who set the first reference lap time ahead of Suzuki and Casella, with Llaver in fourth place.

Osman improved again with 90 seconds on the clock, but was quickly pipped by Llaver, with Suzuki and Casella improving in quick succession to steal the top spot.

Casella claimed the pole position in the end, followed by Suzuki just one tenth behind, with Llaver in third and Osman next.

Yannantuoni qualified in fifth place, three tenths off the pace, followed by Montenegro and Rosso. Nunes was eighth, with Cardoso right behind. Casagrande completed the top ten.

The TCR South America field returns to the track on Sunday morning for Race 1 at 09:10 local time (13:10 CET).