Photo: TCR South America

Rodrigo Baptista tops TCR South America qualifying at Cascavel

Squadra Martino’s Rodrigo Baptista took his Honda Civic Type R TCR to pole in qualifying for TCR South America’s second round at Autódromo de Cascavel.

Baptista was comfortably fastest in Q2, setting the pace by 0.298 seconds, but in the first segment of qualifying he was beaten to top spot by Toyota Team Argentina’s Matias Rossi who set a 1:05.027 to lead him by 0.072s.

W2 Pro GP’s Galid Osman was third fastest in a Cupra León Competición TCR, 0.191s behind, then just 0.049s covered fourth to seventh.

It was the top 12 in the 16-car field that progressed to Q2, and missing out was Baptista’s team-mate Fabio Casagrande, Cobra Racing Team’s uber-experienced Norberto Fontana, Osman’s team-mate Guilherme Reischl – running in a different specification of Cupra León – and Paladini Racing’s Diego Gutierrez.

Despite the track rubbering in, laptimes were difficult to improve on in Q2. Baptista did, clinching pole with a 1:04.863, but Osman and the debuting Rossi were slower than before in second and third, Squadra Martino’s Juan Casella actually matched his 1:05.305 in fourth, and the next five drivers all failed to beat their Q1 pace.

W2’s Points leader Raphael Reis was 0.536s off pole in fifth, and his closest title rival Pedro Cardoso qualified sixth in his PMO Racing-run Peugeot 308TCR. Osman and Reis had topped the two practice sessions, the second one interrupted by rain.

Paladini’s Fabian Yannantuoni and Cobra’s Thiago Vivacqua joined Baptista in improving in Q2 but qualified down in 10th and 11th.

Following two TCR Brazil races on Saturday, TCR South America will hit the track again on Sunday for two races where the grids will be shared with the local series. Race 1 starts at 10:00 local time.