TCR / 04 December 2023
Triple title success for Civic Type R TCR in South America
Ignacio Montenegro, Fabio Casagrande and Squadra Martino scored a magnificent triple-title success for the Honda Civic Type R TCR at a nervy season finale at Cascavel, Brazil.
The history-making set of results also resulted in a 90th major championship for the JAS Motorsport-built touring car and brought the curtain down on an ultra-succesful season.
TCR South America
Ignacio Montenegro became the youngest TCR South America Champion to date after holding his nerve on the final day of the season.
Having qualified sixth, he started the opening race from the back of the grid after Squadra Martino changed his engine overnight due to damage sustained at the previous round, and charged from the tail of the field to finish seventh.
That meant that eighth spot in the finale was enough to make him champion and seal the runner-up spot in the concurrently-run TCR Brasil standings. His Race-One result had already confirmed the Teams' crown for Martino.
Fabio Casagrande secured the Copa Trophy for gentleman drivers for a second straight season. The Brazilian qualified on class pole in 10th place overall and was untroubled on his way to a category victory in Race One.
A further podium in Race Two was more than enough to seal the deal as team-mate Enrique Maglione won the category on the road. It was the 16th title of 2023 for the Civic Type R TCR in a season that has featured 61 race victories globally.
Juan Manuel Casella, driving the latest FL5 Civic, qualified on pole position, but crashed out of the opening race and could not start the finale due to the damage sustained.
Civic Type R TCRs recorded an incredible one-two-three finish as Ruben Volt made an outstanding series debut for ALM Motorsport.
The JAS Driver Development Programme graduate headed both practice sessions at Barcelona and then beat team-mate (and current JAS Development Driver) Scott Sumpton to pole position while Esbjug Motorsport's Didrik Esbjug - another debutant - qualified third.
The Estonian teenager then led Sumpton all the way to the flag in Saturday's opener while Esbjug lost third spot late on but snatched it back on the final lap to complete the podium lock-out.
From 10th on Race Two's partially-reversed grid, Volt was sixth by the end of the opening lap and continued his relentless charge to move into second place on the penultimate tour and end the weekend as the round's highest points-scorer.
Sumpton retired early on while Esbjug was also a non-finisher after early contact and a mechanical issue.
ALM's Philip Lindberg, another JAS Development Driver, qualified eighth for his series debut and was running there in Race One when he was spun by a rival and fell to last place. He recovered to 16th by the finish and then finished eighth in Race Two.