April 22, 2020
Esteban Guerrieri was robbed of an outright podium finish as he stunned the sim racing regulars in the second pre-season Esports WTCR round at the virtual Slovakiaring.
Esteban, the 2019 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup runner-up, started the second race from the front row of the grid courtesy of an outstanding ninth-place finish in race one, and looked set to claim a place in the top three for much of the 25-minute encounter, which was won by a Honda Civic Type R TCR.
A brusque shove from a rival meant Esteban dropped to fourth place in the opening laps, but he reclaimed third with 10 minutes to go thanks to a brave pass at the Turn 8 hairpin and, despite taking more hits from his assailant, kept hold of the position.
Though further hits from behind delayed him and meant the two leaders were out of reach, the Argentinian held firm in third until the penultimate lap.
Esteban survived an attack at the first corner – delaying his turn-in before swooping back ahead of his rival – but was then punted off into the gravel further round the lap and passed by a number of cars as he recovered to the circuit. He finished the race – won by the Civic Type R TCR of Esports racer Bence Banki – in an eventual 11th place.
Despite his disappointment, Esteban still finished as the highest-placed real-life WTCR driver in both races, racking up 12 points.
He had earlier set up his race two opportunity with an impressive charge in the opening counter, which included overtaking one of his real-life WTCR competitors, and later passing three sim racers in one lap, as he rose six places from his 15th-place starting position.
His 2019 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport teammate Nestor Girolami also showed flashes of speed, recording the fourth-fastest time of the WTCR drivers in qualifying.
He initially made up a couple of positions in race one before dropping down the order late on, then completed a strong comeback in the second race to finish 22nd.
Tiago Monteiro was blighted by lag issues during practice and qualifying in the early stages of the event, but raced to 23rd in the opening counter as he continued to increase his sim racing experience and knowledge of the RaceRoom platform used in the four-round WTCR series.
The second race started auspiciously, as the Portuguese driver – who won at the real Slovakiaring for Honda in 2016 – held position in the middle of the pack of real-life WTCR drivers on the opening lap. However, his race ended abruptly when he was hit.
Sadly, the evening was a much shorter affair for Attila Tassi. The opening race had barely begun when his computer froze and he lost connection with the server, after which he was informed that he could not rejoin the event.