Team Castrol Honda Racing completed a successful defence of the Nürburgring 24 Hours TCR class honours, claiming a superb win in the 2020 edition of the race.
A faultless performance from the Fugel Sport-run Honda Civic Type R TCR entry, which once again had the support of Castrol, Honda Germany and JAS Motorsport, ensured victory by a lap over the nearest challenger as all four drivers and the crew excelled in challenging conditions around the 25.378-kilometre circuit.
Defending winners Dominik Fugel and Markus Oestreich were joined by Honda Racing drivers Tiago Monteiro – also part of last year’s class-winning line-up – and Esteban Guerrieri.
Both Monteiro and Guerrieri were on double duty over the weekend, combining their 24-hour race appearances with two WTCR races – with success in the twice-around-the-clock contest sealing a Nürburgring double for Guerrieri, who won the opening WTCR race in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Civic Type R TCR.
Rain on Friday morning prevented any chance of improvement in final qualifying and meant the crew started fourth in class, but the car made rapid progress first in the hands of Oestreich and then Fugel as the Civic took an early lead.
Their fine work was continued by Monteiro and Guerrieri and, though the Argentinian briefly lost the lead during his first stint, he soon had it back as conditions deteriorated after nightfall.
By the time the race was stopped approaching midnight the Civic was a lap clear of its closest rival – an advantage that was maintained when the race resumed after a suspension of more than nine hours, and was still intact come the finish, with Monteiro guiding the car home in the final stint to seal an emphatic victory.
Tiago Monteiro said: « Wow! It’s a fantastic experience once again to win this race. It felt much tougher this year, even though there was a longer red flag, because the conditions were very hard – there was lots of rain, it was very cold, very slippery, and our rivals were always on the same lap or just behind, pushing us to our limits. The team did a great job, the drivers were brilliant in every stint with no mistakes, and the car was amazing – we had no issues whatsoever during the race. I’m very proud of the win and particularly proud to be part of the Honda Racing family right now. Thank you to Honda, to Honda Germany, to Fugel, and to my team-mates. Once again I had the pleasure of driving during the day, during the night, and to bring the car to the finish. What an honour. »
Esteban Guerrieri said: « I’m very happy to secure this victory – it was a great experience and a nice moment as a team when the car crossed the line. The race was tough, especially during my first stint. I would say it was one of the most difficult situations I have had behind the wheel because of the conditions we experienced – there was rain, fog, and plenty of cars crashing; the Nordschleife at that time was certainly the Green Hell! The Sunday morning was still intense because we were in a straight fight with our main rival, so we needed to push quite a bit. But victory was a brilliant reward for the team’s efforts, and made a really enjoyable race – not only because of the result, but because of the experience – even sweeter. »