Honda Racing’s WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup drivers head to round four of the season at the Hungaroring with cautious optimism as they go in search of a return to form.
After an extended six-week Summer break, following the postponement of the Race of Italy round at Adria, the Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR teams return to the scene of their most successful weekend in the WTCR – having last year sealed the top four positions in qualifying and triumphed in two races, which included a landmark podium lockout in the finale.
But while the car has won five of the nine WTCR races in Hungary, and triumphed at least once at the track each year during the WTCR era, pre-weekend enthusiasm is tempered after a trying weekend at Aragon last month, and with the knowledge that the Civic Type R TCR will still be saddled with a significant level of compensation weight.
Nevertheless, as the season hits its scheduled halfway mark all four drivers are eager to bounce back – none more so than home hero Attila Tassi.
Attila currently heads the Honda charge in the Drivers’ championship in sixth place and is bidding to become the first Hungarian driver to triumph on home soil in the WTCR, having already become a race winner earlier this year at Estoril.
His ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport team-mate Tiago Monteiro is just three points behind and has pedigree in Hungary; it was the scene of his first podium of the year in 2020, while Tiago also triumphed during the 2017 World Touring Car Championship season at the wheel of a Honda Civic WTCC.
Attila and Tiago sandwich Esteban Guerrieri in the drivers’ standings, the Argentinian lying seventh overall.
Both of last year’s Honda-powered triumphs at the Hungaroring were taken by Esteban, who also claimed both qualifying pole positions that weekend – securing 69 points from a maximum of 85 on offer.
Compatriot Nestor Girolami is also a double winner at the Hungaroring, having guided his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Civic Type R TCR to a stunning brace at the circuit in 2019.
Nestor is currently 13th in the points, a position that belies his pace so far this season, and as such is targeting a trouble-free weekend in Hungary to climb the standings.
Attila Tassi #9 – ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport : « I’m very happy to be back in front of my home crowd, and I hope there will be many spectators cheering for me, for Honda, and for both Münnich Motorsport teams. It’s special to race at the Hungaroring, and the support from the fans provides a lot of inspiration. There hasn’t been a home winner at the Hungaroring in the WTCR so far; obviously I would be extremely happy to break that spell, but the postponement of the Italy round means the Civic Type R TCR is heavier for this event than we probably thought it would be, so that might be difficult. Still, hopefully we will be fighting for the top positions. »
Tiago Monteiro #18 – ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport : « Naturally, we weren’t happy with the results last time out at Aragon, so collectively and as individuals we are all hoping for a better run this weekend. Whether we get it we won’t know until we’re there, and there is some trepidation about this event, but the Civic Type R TCR has been well-suited to the Hungaroring in the past so we would expect to be able to show what a good package we have at our disposal. What we can say is there won’t be any games, we’ll be giving it our all to stay at the sharp end of the Drivers’ and Teams’ championships. »
Esteban Guerrieri #86 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « Although the Summer break was longer than expected, it’s been nice to recharge after what was a very busy start to the year for me both at the track and away from it. The Aragon weekend was very demanding, but me and the team showed real determination to come away with points, and now we are looking for more in Hungary. We really don’t know how we will compare to our rivals, as the gap in Spain was a bit puzzling, but there is a motivation as well to put that behind us. I’m particularly keen to chase my first podium finish of the season; it would be fantastic to get it at a track that has always suited our package. »
Néstor Girolami #29 6 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « I always look forward to the Hungaroring as I have such fond memories of my double victory in 2019 and it has traditionally been a happy hunting ground, but ahead of this weekend I am wary of making too many predictions based on the big performance swings we have seen so far this season. In any case we will fight for the best positions we can possibly achieve, and it’s vital for our aspirations to be in the top 10 as a minimum if we can. Now is the time to start making up ground in the championship so I hope for a consistent and clean weekend. »