Round 08 Japan

  • Guerrieri Re-Takes WTCR Lead with Suzuka Victory

    Esteban Guerrieri won at Suzuka and reclaimed the lead of the WTCR – FIA World Touring car Cup as Tiago Monteiro made it two Civic Type R TCRs on the podium at Honda’s home circuit.


Report

Guerrieri Re-Takes WTCR Lead with Suzuka Victory

Suzuka Circuit, Japan, Oct 26, 2019

Esteban Guerrieri won at Suzuka and reclaimed the lead of the WTCR – FIA World Touring car Cup as Tiago Monteiro made it two Civic Type R TCRs on the podium at Honda’s home circuit.

Having inherited pole position due to penalties applied to other drivers, Esteban lost the lead on the opening lap, but the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport driver was able to reclaim the top spot at the end of lap two.

After that he was unchallenged; the Argentinian completing his third win of the year – and the seventh for the Civic Type R TCR – under safety-car conditions due to a late incident further down the field.

Esteban’s victory moved him into a 13-point championship lead with eight races remaining and helped ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport close to within seven points of the top spot in the Teams’ rankings.

Team-mate Nestor Girolami started from the back of the grid due to incurring an engine-change penalty after qualifying, but kept himself out of trouble to finish 18th.

For Portuguese racer Tiago, who made his comeback from injury at Suzuka last year, his podium finish was richly deserved on a day when his KCMG team also won the TCR Japan title at the same circuit.

Penalized by race officials for driving slowly in the treacherous weather conditions in qualifying, he started fourth, but soon climbed a spot and resisted intense pressure from behind to claim his second podium finish of the year.

Team-mate Attila Tassi, who started 19th, fought his way to 21st by the checkered flag; the Hungarian hampered with a sticking handbrake at the start that prevented him getting off the line properly.

Wildcard team-mate Jim Ka To, who was sent to the back of the grid for missing the weighbridge in qualifying, battled hard to finish 22nd on his WTCR debut.

Two more races will be held at Suzuka on Sunday morning.

Comments

Esteban Guerrieri | ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport

“This is one of the best victories of my life. It’s so important for so many reasons and I’m just incredibly happy. It was an intense race, right from the start when [Frederic] Vervisch came alongside me and touched me, and I thought I might have broken something. But the Honda is strong. I lost the lead because of the momentum, but I got it back a lap later and could control the pace. Winning for Honda at Suzuka is special, but what’s just as important is that we’re back leading the championship.”

Nestor Girolami | ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport

“It’s been a difficult race, as it always is when you start from the back. I made a good start, gained some more places after a couple of laps and tried to maximize every chance, because overtaking is very difficult here. I was worried at the end because the oil pressure was dropping, but I could manage that. Tomorrow, when I start much higher up, is an important day because good points are available.”

Tiago Monteiro | KCMG

“I’m very pleased to be on the podium, especially after the penalty we got for qualifying, which I’m still struggling to understand and am not happy about. But we had to put it behind us and just do everything we could. I lost some ground at the restarts because Esteban surprised me with which point he started to accelerate, and that dropped me back into a place where I had to defend. We had great pace in the wet and this shows the speed is okay in the dry too. To do this, one year on from my return, when I wasn’t really on the pace, makes it feel very special.”

Attila Tassi | KCMG

“I was quite unlucky today. I had a issue with the handbrake at the start, so I couldn’t go through the normal start procedure and I lost some places, but the recovery was strong and I was into the top 20 before I had to go straight on at Turn 8 when I had a braking issue with the pedal. The pace was quite good though and I’m sure I can score points tomorrow like I did in China.”

Jim Ka To | KC Motorgroup

“That was a nice experience to have for my first WTCR race. I started at the back, but I made nice progress and I’m very happy to finish the race. In qualifying, I was only 0.2 seconds away from making the top 12 and Q2, so I know that together with the car, we have good speed. We’ve made great progress in the first sector especially and starting higher up the grid tomorrow I’ll do my very best for the team.”

Dominik Greiner | Team Manager, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport

“I’m extremely happy with the win and the impact it’s had on the championship. Esteban did a perfect job today. We hope to continue the success tomorrow and leave here in front in the Drivers’ and Teams’ rankings. Bebu made a good recovery from the back and the points he can score tomorrow will be critical for us across the rest of the year.”

Dario d’Esposito | Team Principal, KCMG

“To see Tiago on the podium – especially after the penalty we suffered – was fantastic. It was exactly what he – and everyone in the team -deserved for the hard work we’ve put in. This is our fuel for tomorrow, when he starts in second place in Race Three. It’s also great to see another Honda winning because naturally we want to see a Honda driver winning the championship. Attila had some issues, but he drove well and he will be in a good position to score points tomorrow. Jim also did well and he’s learned a lot from today.”

Mads Fischer | TCR Project Leader, JAS Motorsport

“This is an awesome result and it’s terrific to see Esteban back leading the championship and Tiago on the podium. I’m a bit surprised with the results in the midfield, because with some crazy driving going on, the other three Honda racers all came back in one piece. This will be very important for tomorrow’s races.”

Results

FIA World Touring Car Cup 2019
Round 08: Japan

Race 1

Rank Driver (Machine)
1 Esteban Guerrieri (Honda Civic TCR)
2 Niels Langeveld (Audi RS3 LMS)
3 Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic TCR)
4 Thed Björk (Lynk & Co 03 TCR)
5 Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR)
6 Jean-Karl Vernay (Audi RS3 LMS)
18 Nestor Girolami (Honda Civic TCR)
21 Attila Tassi (Honda Civic TCR)
22 Jim Ka To (Honda Civic TCR)

Photos