Casagrande/Guerrieri wins the TCR endurance race at Termas de Río Hondo

Casagrande/Guerrieri wins the TCR endurance race at Termas de Río Hondo


The second endurance race of the 2022 TCR South American season was full of emotion and drama from start to finish. The WTCR drivers put on a show of strength, the regular South American competitors showed their usual fighting spirit, the Toyota Corolla got off to a fast start and the arguments were fierce in all ranks during the one hour race. At the end of the day, victory smiled on Honda #34, owned by Fabio Casagrande and Esteban Guerrieri.

Trophy Cup driver Casagrande was fourth at the opening of the final lap and ended up being favored by a tussle between Alceu Feldmann and Mikel Azcona that extended to the breakaway and to the failure of the #29 Honda, then driven by Ignacio Montenegro.

At first, the pole man Manuel Sapag maintained his line well. Bernardo Llaver and Juan Angel Rosso exchanged colors and ended up losing time in the fight for second place, which favored the rise of Nestor “Bebu” Girolami, from fifth on the grid to second. Another good jump was Guerrieri, from eighth to third.

On three laps Girolami passed Sapag, and Rosso followed the line. Later Guerrieri also left the Lynk & Co #33 behind. Llaver then attacked Sapag, but there was lateral contact between the cars and the #77 CUPRA ran off the track, losing time and space. The two had to hit the next box, falling to the back of the pack.

Another to make a trip off the track was Rosso, trying to pass Girolami on the outside. Guerrieri took advantage and moved up to second place. In a safe touch, Matias Milla took fourth place with CUPRA #17, one place ahead of Carlos Okulovich and Lynk #7.

Guerrieri took the lead with a good maneuver against Girolami in the opening lap 6. At the same time, Thiago Camilo entered the top 5 with the new Toyota Corolla and overtook the first championship car.

The field remained unchanged until lap 11, when Camilo took the Corolla into the pits with front suspension issues, and Rosso passed Girolami for second. At that time, Guerrieri’s lead was in the 4s range.

With three Hondas occupying the top three positions, the top 5 before the opening of the pit window consisted of the #17 CUPRA in fourth and the #7 Lynk in fifth. Close behind, Chilean Martin Scuncio, in the #18 Hyundai, pipped the #88 Honda of Facundo Marques for sixth.

Girolami and Rosso went in together to change tires and drivers on the first lap of the window. Milla and Oculovich did the same. Guerrieri, on the other hand, continued to accelerate hard to open up an advantage on the track before handing over the car to Fabio Casagrande. The #34 even put a lap ahead of the #26 when Ricardo Risatti left the pits driving in place of Rosso.

Alceu Feldmann, with #17 CUPRA, beat Ignacio Montenegro and Honda #29, favored by the fastest 7s. He soon captured Risatti and continued the attack. On the same lap (21), Honda #26 lost two places, to Feldmann and Montenegro.

Guerrieri then went into the hole on the last lap of the window, and lapped with 7s over Feldmann. The #29 and #26 Hondas came in third and fourth, with flyer Mikel Azcona in fifth while the #35 Hyundai set the fastest laps in a row.

Casagrande’s lead over Feldmann was 7.3 laps to ten. Montenegro was stable in third place. Azcona had already passed Risatti to become fourth. And Pezzini was fast approaching Honda #26, until he passed on lap 23.

In two laps, Feldmann cut Casagrande’s lead in half. Montenegro was 2s behind the #17 CUPRA, also taking time away from the leading Honda.

Feldmann attacked from the outside in turn 0 in the opening lap 28. Casagrande closed the door and the conflict favored the arrival of Montenegro and Azcona.

Feldmann managed to take the lead on the next lap, but in a 3-way battle, Casagrande sold the lead too far. Montenegro finished in a good position and moved from third to first.

Azcona then passed Casagrande and opened the attack to Feldmann. The Spaniard and the Brazilian played half of the 30th round, exchanging positions twice.

On lap 31, Azcona passed Feldmann, but the cars touched and left the track. They came back, but lost the position to Casagrande.

The #29 Honda lost performance, so it was also at the mercy of the #34, who moved from fourth to the lead on the final lap.

Even with the damage, Feldmann was able to drive to finish in second. Azcona was third, Pezzini fourth and Peugeot #60, owned by Juan Manuel Casella and Frederik Balbi, completed the top 5.

After the race, the stewards issued a disqualification penalty to CUPRA #17 for a trick against Azcona, which promoted Lynk #7 to third place on the podium and Peugeot #15 to the last place in the top 5.

In the championship, the leadership continues with the Argentinian Fabricio Pezzini. He now has 401 points, with an advantage of 72 over Rosso, 84 over Raphael Reis and 92 over Sapag.

Two stages of the race are not there to define the TCR South American titles. The next meeting will be held in Buenos Aires on September 17 and 18. And the final stage is planned for Villicum, on October 8 and 9.

What they said:

“I came to this race wanting to absorb as much as I can, to learn as much as possible from Esteban (Guerrieri). I improved a lot over the weekend. That was a huge reward. I was a good student, it was a huge reward.”
Fabio Casagrande

“A race is a race, we have to believe until the end and that’s what happened today, it was a clear example that we have to try until the end and still hope for luck. It was a great job by the whole team, the car ran perfectly all weekend. I managed to start well and have a clean touch, I gave the car to Fábio and he also did an amazing job.
Another point of the weekend was to help my experience and give him touches on how to drive and do better. Fábio is a very humble and quiet boy, with a great desire to learn. I had a really good feeling this weekend and it ended with an amazing win. Fábio didn’t realize he had won the race, he thought he was only in first place in the Trophy Cup, he asked me at the end how we finished overall and we told him we had won too, it was exciting. .”
Esteban Guerrieri

“It was a very learning weekend. We were doing well in the race, the team did a good job in the pit. Azcona took the opportunity and made a perfect race, he came very fast, he had many chances to win. Unfortunately, the touch in the last few laps it took that chance, but I believe that if it wasn’t for that, we would have had a chance to fight for the win. But congratulations to Guerrieri and Casagrande, who also had a great race. It was a good weekend for us, it will definitely help a lot for the rest of the year.”
Pedro Aiza

“I am very happy with the result, we started in ninth place and finished in third place. Pedro’s (Aizza) work was amazing. He is a small driver, very fast, who shows his talent. I enjoyed my life, the car was very nice. The car was very fast and I managed to set the best lap of the race. In the last few laps I tried to get a chance for a really good fight, with drivers like (Juan Angel) Rosso, Esteban’s (Guerrieri) teammate. It was a very clean and beautiful race. But for Cupra it was an unusual time, wasn’t it? I defended the position giving three meters because in the previous turn I made a mistake and he did not want to return the position. And suddenly I got a very strong blow even though I left a space of six meters. I didn’t understand. I believe he did it on purpose. This is very dangerous for motorsport. Not only that: when I was on the gravel, he came at full speed against my side. And that should not be accepted.”
Mikel Azcona

“Thank you for a great job all weekend. We failed to win. But I am very happy. Alcaeus is a great pilot. We also suffered a lot in this race. Good luck and thank God we ended up on stage. I want to thank him 100% for believing in me to run here. It was a very difficult race from the first lap, we didn’t have a lot of speed, but we had a good set-up. We soon recovered and Alceu had a good race as well.”
Matias Milla

“The car was good on the ground. We were left on the track and we were going to win the race. But the car in the last few laps started to fail. It was an oil fault that has been going on since Uruguay. We have to solve it because we had a chance to win the race easily. And we are mixing up our lives in every race.”
Alceu Feldmann

RESULTS

1. #34 Fabio Casagrande (BRA)/Esteban Guerrieri (ARG)
2. #35 Pedro Aizza (BRA)/Mikel Azcona (ESP)
3. #7 Fabricio Pezzini (ARG)/Carlos Okulovich (ARG)
4. #60 Juan Manuel Casella (URU)/Frederick Balbi (URU)
5. #15 Enrique Maglione (URU)/Rodrigo Aramendia (URU)
6. #6 Pedro Nunes (BRA)/Marcio Basso (BRA)
7. #22 Gabriel Lusquiños (BRA)/Vitor Genz (BRA)
8. #87 Franco Farina (ARG)/Guilherme Resichl (BRA)
9. #33 Manuel Sapag (ARG) / Santiago Urrutia (URU)
10. #10 Adalberto Baptista (BRA)/Sergio Ramalho (BRA)
11. #26 Juan Ángel Rosso (ARG)/Ricardo Risatti (ARG)
12. #18 Javier Scuncio (CHI)/Martín Scuncio (CHI)
13. #29 Ignacio Montenegro (ARG)/Néstor Girolami (ARG)
14. #77 Raphael Reis (BRA)/Bernardo Llaver (ARG)
DNF
#14 Matías Cravero (ARG)/Martín Chialvo (ARG)
#73 Juan Pablo Bessone (ARG)/Isidoro Vezzaro (ARG)
#88 Facundo Marques (ARG)/Franco Coscia (ARG)
#32 Jorge Barrio (ARG)/Thiago Camilo (BRA)
#13 Pablo Otero (ARG)/Bia Figueiredo (BRA)
DQ
#17 Alceu Feldmann (BRA)/Matías Milla (ARG)