WTCR : Return to winning ways for the Honda Civic Type R TCR

Nestor Girolami led a Honda Civic Type R TCR 1-2 at Most from Esteban Guerrieri, who scored two WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup podiums on a strong day for the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team.

The two secured the result in Sunday’s opening race, though their paths to those positions were vastly different.

From second on the grid, Nestor launched well and took the lead on the run to the first corner. He held that position through Turn 1 – despite a nervous moment when he was hit from behind – to lead the pack before the intervention of the Safety Car.

The Argentinian controlled the race when it resumed, heading team-mate Esteban over the line to claim his first victory of the season.

‘Bebu’ was less fortunate in Race Two as multiple hits at the start, before which he looked on course to make ground from ninth place on the grid, relegated him down the order.

Another impact at the restart pushed him further back, but despite ending the race with a solitary point he nevertheless ended the weekend having climbed to seventh in the Drivers’ Championship.

Esteban’s route to runner-up spot in Race One was, on the face of it, harder from ninth at the start, but an excellent judgement call meant he avoided a melee at Turn 1 and advanced to third, before passing a car around the outside exiting the second corner.

With Nestor in the lead, Esteban kept the chasing pack at arm’s length; his reward for doing so was a first podium of the season.

His second came soon after, too, as another hard-fought drive to keep cars behind earned a third-place finish.

The defining move came on the opening lap, as he beat his fellow second-row starter into third at the first corner, but he faced a constant challenge for the position when the race resumed after an early red flag.

That double podium, coupled with the seven points Esteban scored in Friday qualifying, elevated him to second in the Drivers’ standings with six races of the 2021 WTCR season remaining.

There were contrasting fortunes for the ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport team, as Tiago Monteiro and Attila Tassi both fought hard for little reward.

Despite both receiving hits, good starts from the pair in Race One meant they ran 10th and 11th in the early stages. However, Tiago was ruled out of the hunt for points when he served a drive-through penalty after the early Safety Car, and a cut tyre from debris on the track forced Attila to pit late on.

Attila was luckless in Race Two; despite getting another strong start, he was hit from behind into Turn 1 which broke the car’s intercooler. He was able to bring the car back to the pits but could not continue.

Tiago did at least manage to get points on the board by finishing 12th, but was again the innocent victim of contact as a frustrating weekend came to a conclusion.

All four drivers are in action again next weekend when the WTCR makes its first visit to the Pau-Arnos circuit in France.

Néstor Girolami #29 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « Overall it’s been a great day, and it’s so nice to have that winning feeling again. I was worried before the start of Race One because I knew Turn 1 was really tight. I was already downshifting to first gear, which was the secret to recovering from the hit from behind. Thanks to the engineers for the analysis they did, working out things like how much grip would be available at the start. I tried not to compromise Esteban with dirty air and made a gap every time I was asked, and I think we managed that very well. Although Race Two didn’t work out with lots of contact, it was still a good day for the team so well done to them for our results. »

Esteban Guerrieri #86 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « Today definitely goes down as a mission accomplished on what was a very important weekend; it was do or die if I wanted to keep my title hopes alive. My strategy in Race One was to go around the outside, but something in my gut told me I needed to stay on the inside, and it paid off. I sat behind Nestor and the plan worked very well, so it was great to bring this reward for the team. Race Two was much, much tougher, and I had to push every lap, every corner. We made some changes to the car and to be honest I went the wrong way, but we got through it. We are back in the game now, so let’s play. »

Tiago Monteiro #18 – ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport : « The whole weekend was very difficult. We had a good balance in qualifying, but mechanical issues prevented us from being able to show our full pace. In both races I had great starts – in terms of straightline speed and under braking – but just at the end every time there were some hits from the back, either just when I was about to turn or when I was already doing so. People also cut the chicane and I was overtaken by some of them, who kept position, which could maybe have been looked at. Now we have to learn from a few things we’ve done this weekend and use it to improve next weekend at Pau. »

Attila Tassi #9 – ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport : « The weekend was far from ideal. It’s really frustrating because we could see that the potential was there. Both of my starts were good; the first time I positioned myself quite nicely and I was already up to 10th, but four laps from the end I had what felt like a puncture, which turned out to be a cut in the tyre, and meant I needed to stop immediately. In Race Two I got a hit from behind that pushed me into the car ahead and the intercooler broke, so I couldn’t even do one corner at full pace. It was good to see that our car is fast, but it was like dodgems today so it’s a shame both our races were affected by this. »

Dominik Greiner – Münnich Motorsport : « In general it was an excellent day for the team, getting back to winning ways. These results were our best-case scenario so it was a great effort from the drivers to achieve them. The 1-2 is a really good reward for the whole squad after some tough weekends, and third place for Esteban in Race Two was particularly hard earned considering he was defending for almost all of it. As for Tiago and Attila, it’s a shame that the pace they were able to show was not rewarded with more points. All four of the cars have battle scars from two rough races; there’s some work now for the team to do before we go to Pau next weekend. »

Mads Fischer – JAS Motorsport : « It’s been a strong raceday at Most, with Esteban and Nestor maximising the opportunities they had in Race One to secure a fantastic 1-2 for the Civic Type R TCR. Esteban then drove another excellent race at the end of the day, which not only earned him a deserved podium but also meant he gained vital points in the Championship. Even though the results were more difficult for Tiago and Attila, both were able to show pace in the limited windows they had to do so. This was another demanding weekend but the performance has been at a high standard, so let’s hope for the same next weekend in France. »

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