Esteban Guerrieri scored a commanding victory for the Honda Civic Type R TCR at the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup Race of Germany on Saturday.
Starting third on the partially-reversed Race Two grid at the legendary Nürburgring circuit, the Argentinian driver snatched the lead within four corners of the start and was never seriously challenged.
His win was his first of 2018 and the second of the season for the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team, who were competing at their home event and who retained their third place in the Teams’ Championship.
Esteban finished fourth on the road in Race Three, but was dropped to ninth in the results as a result of a harshly-imposed time penalty given for marginal side-by-side contact while overtaking a rival.
His team-mate Yann Ehrlacher finished sixth in Race Two and was on course to turn his fifth place on the grid into a fourth-place finish when a technical issue put him out on the final lap. He is fifth in the Drivers’ points table while Esteban is eighth.
James Thompson started and finished 19th in Race Two, but made strong progress to come home 16th in the finale.
Boutsen Ginion Racing scored a magnificent fourth place in Race Three with Benjamin Lessennes on what was the debut race weekend at the Nürburgring for both driver and team.
Lessennes, who was the highest-placed Honda driver and set the race’s third-fastest lap, secured the best finish of his career, just over an hour after contact from a rival put his Honda out of Race Two on the first lap.
Team-mate Tom Coronel added a pair of tenth-place finishes to make it three points-scoring races out of three this weekend; the Dutchman skilfully avoiding a multi-car incident that took place right in front of him on the final lap.
After a leaking damper caused Kris Richard to qualify 27th, the KCMG driver made excellent progress in both races. He finished 17th and 19th.
The next event takes place in nine days’ time at Zandvoort, Netherlands.
Esteban Guerrieri #86 : « This has probably been the most enjoyable day of racing of my life; a great win in Race Two and a really fantastic race later on. The peak of the weekend was yesterday in qualifying when I managed eighth on my last lap with a leaking damper at the rear. That put me third on the reversed-grid and from there I was able to find a way to the front, build a gap where the Honda was at its fastest in the twisty sections, and hang on for my first win of the year. I’m hugely disappointed with what I believe was an unfair penalty in Race Three because as a team, we deserved the result, but the victory is what I will remember from this weekend. »
Yann Ehrlacher #68 : « I was very pleased to qualify fifth, because that means I’ve been in the top-five in every second qualifying this year. That meant I was sixth for Race Two on the reversed grid, and it’s where I finished because with the slipstream it was impossible not to lose two places on the long straight on the last lap. I should have been fourth in the last race, but the fuel pressure dropped suddenly as I started the last lap and I had to stop. »
James Thompson #15 : « That was definitely more fraught than I was expecting. Starting where we did, it was clear I was going to be racing in the pack, and it was very tight. I took too much wing off for Race Two to try to increase the straightline speed, but that made the car tough to handle in the fast corners, so we went back to a more conventional set-up in Race Three and things were much better. Unlike here, Zandvoort is a track I know well, so we’ll be stronger. »
Benjamin Lessennes #63 : « The Nurburgring is the most difficult circuit in the world, and I’ve just finished fourth, which is just incredible. The speed has been there all weekend – just like in Hungary – so I knew this kind of result was possible. In the first race I had contact from Rob Huff, which put me out on the first lap, but the team did a fantastic job to fix my car in the repair time. Without that I’d never have had the great result in Race Three. The next aim has to go one step better and finish on the podium. »
Tom Coronel #9 : « I’ve finished in the points in all three races this weekend, which is the first time that happened all year. We worked hard to maximise the car for the corners and it’s paid off, although we didn’t have the necessary straightline speed to challenge the other cars down the long straight at the end of the lap. Some of the driving out there was pretty tough and there was a lot of contact, especially from Gordon Shedden, but the car is handling well and this is all good for my home race at Zandvoort next week. »
Kris Richard #94 : « We’ve made good progress today and 17th and 19th in the races is clearly much better than where we qualified. My target was to be in the top 10 here, but I think the mixed weather conditions in free practice set us back and denied us the track time we needed to make sure we had the right settings on the car for the rest of the weekend. It’s been hard to overtake on the straights here, although the car felt strong in the corners. I hope we have another opportunity to show what we can do at this level later in the year. »