The Honda Civic Type R TCR could add another title to its championship-winning pedigree this weekend as the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup reaches its season climax on the fabled Macau street circuit in Asia.
Esteban Guerrieri is part of a seven-way scrap for the Drivers’ title while ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport retain a chance of claiming the Teams’ Championship and currently lie third in the points table.
The Argentinian has five podiums – including a win at the Nürburgring – to his name this year and narrowly missed out on a rostrum finish in Macau last year.
The past two Guia Races held for TCR cars have featured victories for Hondas, showing the prowess of the Civic Type R TCR around the fabled 6.2km circuit that winds around Macau’s harbour area.
Esteban’s team-mate Yann Ehrlacher is aiming to use the experience gained in Macau last year in 2018 to halt a run of bad luck. Victorious at the Hungaroring and Zandvoort, the Frenchman is also the third-best qualifier of the year.
Timo Scheider who makes his Macau debut, is determined to use all his race experience to end his first part-campaign in front-wheel-drive machinery with points finishes and help Münnich’s prospects in the Teams’ title race.
Tom Coronel, a podium finisher at Macau in both the Formula 3 Grand Prix and in the WTCC has had some of his best results in World Touring Car racing on street circuits, including second place at Macau last year.
The experienced Dutchman has seen it all in Macau and knows his experience will be an asset as the Boutsen Ginion Racing team aim to finish the season with strong points finishes.
His team-mate will be Ma Qing Hua, who returns to the Boutsen Ginion line-up for a third event of the season.
The Chinese driver was a points scorer with seventh in Wuhan and replaces Tiago Monteiro, whose Suzuka outing was always intended to be a one-off as he prepares for a full-time return in 2019.
Ma, a two-time World Touring Car race winner, impressively set the fastest race lap of last year’s Macau weekend on what was his only appearance of the season in the WTCC and is out to achieve more strong results this weekend.
A sixth Civic Type R TCR will contest the Macau event with new TCR China Champions MacPro Racing Team entering a car for local hero Andre Couto.
The Macanese driver has won the prestigious Formula Three Grand Prix on his home circuit and has been a polesitter for the Guia Race and a points-scorer in several previous wildcard outings in World Touring Cars.
Unusually, the Macau track action gets underway with practice on Thursday. Race One is scheduled for Saturday with Races Two and Three on Sunday.
Esteban Guerrieri #86 (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport) : « The target for this season was to try and win the championship, and we come to the final round still in with that chance, which is down to a strong car and a very good job by the whole team all season, even though things haven’t always gone our way. The points gap is quite big in both the Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships, so our destiny really isn’t in our hands, but when you really have to fight for something, that’s when lambs become lions, and that’s what we have to do. »
Yann Ehrlacher #68 (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport) : « My season started amazingly well, but since Vila Real in June, it has been difficult to put together the same kind of run of results. There’s no single reason for this; it’s been a combination of many factors; some bad luck, some incidents and some entire weekends when the BoP hasn’t been in our favour. But Macau is a clean sheet of paper. We’ve seen before that anything can happen here and I’ll use the experience I gained last year to do the best I possibly can, help score as many points as I can for the Teams’ Championship and hopefully reward everyone who’s played such a huge role in this project in 2018. »
Timo Scheider #42 (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport) : « Ever since I came into the WTCR a few rounds ago, Macau has been the track I’ve been most excited about. I never did the Formula 3 race here so this will be new for me. I’ve been practicing the circuit on a simulator, so I know the corner sequence at least, but there’s no substitute for getting out on-track so I’m looking forward for the red light to go out for FP1. I’ve come very close to scoring points on a number of occasions and that would be a great way to end the year. »
Tom Coronel #9 (Boutsen Ginion Racing) : « Macau is one of the highlights of any race series, so I was delighted when it came back onto the calendar last year. The way the whole city embraces the race event is incredible. When you’ve just finished a great lap, you really feel it because the difference between being a hero and being in the wall can be just millimetres. The qualifying sessions here are the most vital of the season because there are always red flags and it’s a long lap, so you need to make the most of your opportunities to get yourself high up the grid. I’ve done that in the past and finished second here last year and second in the F3 race earlier in my career, so it’s been a good track for me. »
Qing Hua Ma #55 (Boutsen Ginion Racing) : « I am very happy to return to the WTCR and to race the Honda Civic Type R TCR again. Boutsen Ginion Racing are a strong team and made me feel very welcome in the events I did in China. Having been through that familiarisation period will help me get up-to-speed much more quickly at Macau, as will the fact that this is the first track I’ll have raced the car at this year at which I have prior experience. Together we’ve already finished in the top 10 so the aim is to have a strong weekend and continue the progress shown in Ningbo and Wuhan. »
Andre Couto #89 (MacPro Racing Team) : « I’m delighted to make my WTCR debut this weekend and very proud to represent Macau at my home circuit. I probably have more experience of the Guia Circuit than anybody else on the grid and I’ll aim to use this to my advantage. I raced the Honda Civic TypeR TCR at Ningbo in TCR China and won two races with MacPro Racing Team, so I’m confident we can get the car going quickly and put on a good show for the always-enthusiastic local supporters. »