Photo: TCR South America

Baptista unopposed en route to TCR South America Race 1 victory at Cascavel

Squadra Martino’s Rodrigo Baptista comfortably turned pole position into victory in TCR South America Race 1 at Cascavel.

A strong start propelled Baptiste into a 1.3-second lead on the opening lap, and he had grown that to two seconds by lap 11. Through the second half of the race he extending the gap to five seconds then managed his pace and eventually finished with a 1.989s winning margin.

W2 Pro GP’s Galid Osman held second place throughout, and distanced himself from the battle for third late on.

There was drama on lap one as Baptista’s team-mate Juan Casella made a very slow start from fourth while Paladini Racing’s Juan Angel Rosso got pushed onto the grass on the way to turn one while trying to overtake W2’s Raphael Reis for fourth. Reis was penalised five seconds for the move.

Toyota Team Argentina’s Matias Rossi’s was third, and challenged Osman through the downhill sections of lap one but then had no answer to the top two’s pace. Eventually he fell into the clutches of Reis, who on lap 18 dived down his inside at turn one.

His title rival Pedro Cardoso and Leonel Pernía tried following him through a few corners later, but ended up making contact and Pernía was sent sliding sideways across the grass on a very steep uphill section. Pernía rejoined the track in eighth place, when then became seventh as Rossi pitted at the end of the lap.

There was a lack of overtaking thereon, and although Reis then hunted down Osman his penalty meant he finished sixth, behind PMO Racing’s Cardoso, Rosso and Casella.

Paladini’s Fabian Yannantuoni finished eighth and had been ahead of Casella until lap 11, and before that had been behind Marcos Regadas until he slid off, hit a ditch, got a front-right puncture, went into the barriers then hobbled to the pits.