Guerrieri Increases WTCR Points Lead with Suzuka Podium
A podium finish at Honda’s home circuit of Suzuka helped ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri to increase his advantage in the WTCR – FIA World Touring car Cup standings.
A podium finish at Honda’s home circuit of Suzuka helped ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri to increase his advantage in the WTCR – FIA World Touring car Cup standings on Sunday.
The Argentinian started Race Three from fourth place in his Civic Type R TCR, gained one spot at the start and then passed fellow Honda Racing driver Tiago Monteiro two laps from the end to secure second spot.
His result was his ninth podium finish of the year and edged him seven points clear of his nearest challenger in the race for the title.
His 57-point weekend total was also the highest score of any driver and moved Münnich Motorsport into a one-point Teams’ Championship lead.
Team-mate Nestor Girolami endured a frustrating day and finished the two races 11th and 14th. Hit on the final lap of Race Two while fighting for position, he was promoted one spot when his rival was penalized for the contact.
Further contact on the first lap of Race Three led to the loss of several more spots, but a determined rearguard action in defense of what became 14th spot did at least allow the Argentinian to secure vital points and keep him sixth in the Drivers’ standings.
KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro was the highest-placed Honda driver in Race Two in sixth spot and wound up with his best weekend points total of the year as he added fourth spot in Race Three.
The Vila Real race winner had run second for most of the final encounter, but after being passed for second, he was then overtaken under safety-car conditions for the final podium when he mistakenly headed for the pitlane, believing the race to be over before he had taken the checkered flag.
Team-mate Attila Tassi started 10th in Race Two, but was hit on the first lap and suffered a damaged exhaust that left him without full power down Suzuka’s long start/finish straight and contributed to him finishing 24th.
He finished 11th in Race Three, but was penalized five seconds for not lining up fully inside his grid box at the start. While that should have still ensured a points finish, the race finishing under safety-car conditions meant he was classified 18th.
Wildcard team-mate Jim Ka To narrowly avoided being part of a multi-car crash at the start of Race Three and drove two consistent races to finish 28th and 22nd.
Esteban Guerrieri | ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
“I’m very happy. We’ve given Honda a win at their home track yesterday and now with a second place, we’re back ahead in the race for the title. There’s still a long way to go, but the important thing is that we’ve looked consistently competitive and scored more points than anybody else this weekend. I’m extremely proud of the team because we rebounded from a very difficult situation in Race Two, changed a lot of things with the set-up and had very good pace in Race Three. I’m also thankful to Tiago for not making it hard to pass, because it’s good for all of us if a Honda Racing driver wins the championship.”
Nestor Girolami | ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
“It’s been a difficult day for me starting the races from 11th and 12th. The pace in Race One was very poor at the end and it was impossible to defend my position from some of the cars that had a higher top speed. I had contact from [Benjamin] Leuchter when he passed me and I knew the stewards would penalize him, which they did. We did a set-up change for Race Two, but I got hit on the first lap and lost some places, so I was in defensive mode after that. The issue we had on Friday in qualifying was the big setback, and we never really recovered, but we are leading the Teams’ Championship, which is really important.”
Tiago Monteiro | KCMG
“We had a miscommunication at the end of Race Three over the radio, I lost focus and headed for the pitlane, and in the time it took to realize my mistake, I lost third place. It’s a real shame, but we showed this weekend that we’re right back on the pace and I hope we can keep this up for the rest of the season. I was the best-placed Honda driver in Race Two after a great start and the fastest Honda driver in Race Three as well after a front-row qualifying performance, but I want to help Honda win the championship so I didn’t make it hard for Esteban when he came to pass me. We’ve scored good points and showed well for Honda at their home circuit.”
Attila Tassi | KCMG
“Tough day. In Race Two I made a good start, but I got hit on the first lap, which damaged the exhaust and meant I never had full power for the rest of the day. That made it pretty impossible to defend on the straight, and I lost some places that way. The balance was good though, and in sector two in particular, I got a good feeling. Eleventh was the result we deserved for Race Three, but unfortunately a got a penalty because I forgot which side of the track my grid position was on, moved into the right place quite late, and didn’t get lined up properly.”
Jim Ka To | KC Motorgroup
“I could feel how we improved our performances today quite a lot. I finished both races, which means I’ve done three races and finished them all. I’ve got used to the starting system too, because the races I’d done in this car before this weekend had all been rolling starts, and that feels much better today. I could feel I was losing some speed at the end of the straight, but I’m pretty happy with things and looking forward to Macau.”
Dominik Greiner | Team Manager, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
“Today is a very good day and I’m very happy to be leaving Japan ahead in the Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships. To win in Honda country was fantastic in front of so many fans. It was another great effort from the team. We had some issues in Race Two, which our guys analyzed very well. We were able to make some very positive changes for Race Three and to help Esteban get on the podium. Bebu scored some important points for the Teams’ Championship, and Tiago was also a big help when Esteban passed him.”
FIA World Touring Car Cup 2019
Round 08: Japan
|1||Norbert Michelisz (Hyundai i30 N TCR)|
|2||Rob Huff (Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR)|
|3||Gabriele Tarquini (Hyundai i30 N TCR)|
|4||Kevin Ceccon (Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR)|
|5||Thed Björk (Lynk & Co 03 TCR)|
|6||Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic TCR)|
|10||Esteban Guerrieri (Honda Civic TCR)|
|12||Nestor Girolami (Honda Civic TCR)|
|24||Attila Tassi (Honda Civic TCR)|
|28||Jim Ka To (Honda Civic TCR)|
|1||Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR)|
|2||Esteban Guerrieri (Honda Civic TCR)|
|3||Kevin Ceccon (Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR)|
|4||Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic TCR)|
|5||Thed Björk (Lynk & Co 03 TCR)|
|6||Gabriele Tarquini (Hyundai i30 N TCR)|
|14||Nestor Girolami (Honda Civic TCR)|
|18||Attila Tassi (Honda Civic TCR)|
|22||Jim Ka To (Honda Civic TCR)|