Esteban Guerrieri remains in the thick of the hunt for the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup following a hard-fought double-points finish on the streets of Macau on Sunday.
Heading to the season finale at Sepang, Malaysia, in just under a month, the Argentinian ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport driver finished fourth and 10th to hold on to second place in the standings.
A firm passing move at the tight Lisboa right-hander on the third lap moved him up from his fourth-place starting spot into a podium position.
But with the championship’s Balance of Performance (BoP) rendering his Honda Civic Type R far slower in a straight line than most of the other cars, he was unable to fend off the attack of his driver behind him and had to defend strongly to hold on to fourth.
His results reduced his gap to the series leader from 18 points to nine with 85 still available and four drivers in title contention.
Team-mate Nestor Girolami finished 19th and 17th; the Argentinian compromising his start procedure because he could not see the start/finish lights from his grid position, and later having to drive within himself after noticing rising fluid temperatures.
Taking part in their local race, Hong Kong’s KCMG team came close to adding to the point scored by Tiago Monteiro on Saturday.
From the back row after red flags and slow backmarkers left him unable to set a representative time in second qualifying, Tiago surged forwards on the opening lap of Race Two to finish 18th.
He kept his nose clean in the finale to add 19th with faster pace than he was able to use.
Hungarian team-mate Attila Tassi, who twice started 17th, sustained damage to the front of his Civic Type R TCR at Lisboa on the opening lap of Race Two as he attempted to avoid a two-car collision ahead of him.
He ran solidly in 16th until being punted down the escape road with two laps left. He finished 16th in Race Three, despite still carrying damage from the earlier incident.
Esteban Guerrieri #86 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « We really saved our potatoes today and that’s a big thanks to the team. We tried a set-up yesterday that I wasn’t so comfortable with, so we made some changes today that made things much better. The car was good through Mandarin, which was so important to defend on the main straight. It was the only way to score good points. I’m nine points behind heading to Malaysia, but my target was always to go there in the mix, and that’s what I’ve done. »
Nestor Girolami #29 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « Today was tougher than Saturday. There was a light not working on the starting gantry, so I had to park two metres behind my grid box just to see the lights at the start and I never really had a good getaway. I had a high engine temperature so had to turn the engine off and reset it in Race Three and lost some places, and I couldn’t really push so hard because of this. »
Attila Tassi #9 – KCMG : « I’m actually pretty pleased with the level of performance today, especially in Race Three, where I was the second-fastest Honda driver. I’d had some front-end damage from Lisboa at the start of Race 2, and after I was taken out near the end, and while the team did a great job to fix the car, I still had to carry a bit of aero damage into the last race. It was a better day than Saturday. »
Tiago Monteiro #18 – KCMG : « We’ve had good pace all weekend and the speed shown in today’s races backs that up. I didn’t get a lap in afternoon qualifying on Friday, and that’s why I started at the back. From there, at a track like Macau, progress is so difficult. I did overtake five or six cars at the start of Race Two, and had some generally good, hard, but fair racing. If we’d maximised qualifying, I could have been racing in the same kind of area as Esteban; that’s the kind of overall pace we had. »
Dominik Greiner – Team Manager – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « We weren’t in a great situation yesterday, but today we’ve maximised things and scored every point that was realistically available to us, which is a very positive thing. Esteban is nine points behind in the Drivers’ Championship, but yesterday the gap was 18, so we’re still in the game and we’ll fight on at Sepang. Having two cars in one piece leaving Macau can never be taken for granted, so this is another thing we’re pleased about. Today could have been a disaster. Fortunately, it wasn’t. »
Dario d’Esposito – Team Principal – KCMG : « It’s been a medium type of weekend, but today has been much better than Saturday or Friday and we’ve done all we could to extract performance with a BoP and compensation weight situation that’s made it very difficult for the Honda to be competitive. Attila made a couple of small mistakes in Race Two, but had the confidence to go for points, which was good to see. From the back, Tiago pushed as hard as he could and probably could have scored as well as Esteban if qualifying had gone better, but we’ve protected the cars for Malaysia and that’s very important. »