Lights-to-flag win for Urrutia in El Pinar’s Race 1
20 August 2023
For the excitement of Uruguayan fans, Santiago Urrutia converted his pole position into his second victory in the Kumho TCR World Tour at El Pinar’s Autódromo Victor Borrat Fabini. Urrutia was followed by his Cyan Racing Lynk & Co teammate Thed Björk, while Comtoyou Audi driver Frédéric Vervisch completed the podium.
Squadra Martino’s Ignacio Montenegro and Juan Manuel Casella finished 1-2 in TCR South America, with series newcomer Esteban Guerrieri in third.
At the start, Urrutia sprinted to the lead, with Björk briefly losing the second place to Néstor Girolami; however, the Swede was quick to repass the Argentine who lost another position to a charging Frédéric Vervisch who had dashed from P5 on the grid. Behind them, Casella moved up to sixth ahead of Yann Ehrlacher.
As the two leaders began to build a gap, Montenegro passed Juan Ángel Rosso for P10 and second in TCR South America, while title contender Raphael Reis retired with a technical issue. Casella tried his best to resist the pressure from Ehrlacher, but eventually had to concede the Frenchman the sixth place, while Montenegro overtook Mikel Azcona for ninth. In the battle for the positions, Casella dropped to tenth, behind Rob Huff, Montenegro and Azcona.
During the last part of the race, there was a close fight for P3, with Vervisch defending from Girolami, Norbert Michelisz and Ehrlacher who had joined the trio. Michelisz managed to keep Ehrlacher behind, while Azcona and Ma Qing Hua passed Montenegro to finish eighth and ninth.
After the race, Cyan Racing lodged a protested for a contact between Michelisz and Ehrlacher which resulted in a five second penalty imposed to the Hungarian driver who dropped to sixth behind his rival.
In the TCR World Tour standings, Ehrlacher leads by twelve over Michelisz, while Björk has moved into the third position on equal points with Azcona. Montenegro has further stretched his leadership in TCR South America, while Casella has climbed to second, 65 points behind him and six ahead of Bernardo Llaver.
Race 2 is due to start at 12:55 local time (17:55 CEST), with live streaming on tcr-series.tv and YouTube.
El Pinar – Race 1 overall
1. Santiago Urrutia (Cyan Racing, Lynk & Co 03 FL), 20 laps
1. Ignacio Montenegro (Squadra Martino, Honda Civic Type R FK7), 20 laps
2. Juan Manuel Casella (Squadra Martino, Honda Civic Type R FK7), 0.999
3. Esteban Guerrieri (Bratton Bessone Team, Toyota Corolla GRS), 2.576
Championship points – TCR World Tour
1. Y. Ehrlacher, 213 pts; 2. N. Michelisz, 201; 3. T. Björk, 180
Championship points – TCR South America
1. I. Montenegro, 303 pts; 2. JM: Casella, 238; 3. B. Llaver, 232
Picture: TCR South America/Hernán Capa
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