Italian Job awaits Honda Racing’s WTCR drivers

The penultimate round of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup season is fast approaching for Honda Racing’s drivers, who are gearing up for a maiden visit to Adria International Raceway.

A strong weekend at the 3.745-kilometre circuit in Italy is of vital importance to Esteban Guerrieri, who for a fourth-straight year finds himself in the heat of the WTCR title fight entering the closing stages of the campaign.

Esteban kept himself in the top three of the Drivers’ Championship at the previous round at Pau-Arnos, staying within reach of the points leader despite the Civic Type R TCR not being best suited to the track.

The Argentinian predicts a similar situation at the stop-start Adria and is hoping rain appears in the forecast over the weekend.

Like Esteban, team-mate Nestor Girolami has found a strong turn of form since the second half of the season began one month ago.

Though his own title chances have taken a knock over the past two race weekends through issues outside of his control, ‘Bebu’ is motivated to bank more good points in order to boost both Esteban’s hopes and those of ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, who are second in the Teams’ standings.

The team tested at Adria in May, and in the ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport camp Tiago Monteiro and Attila Tassi are hoping the knowledge gained from that pays dividends.

Tiago scored a double podium on the most recent FIA World Touring Car visit to Italy, placing third then second at the wheel of a Honda Civic WTCC at Monza during the 2017 World Touring Car Championship season.

The Portuguese heads to Adria keen to repeat the pace he showed in France last month, though contact from a rival in Race One meant his encouraging form went largely unrewarded.

Attila also has podium pedigree from his most recent race outing in Italy, finishing third at Monza during the 2018 TCR Europe season.

Two tough qualifying sessions at the past two race weekends have put the Hungarian on the back foot heading into the races, so Attila is targeting an upturn in Saturday pace in order to climb the points standings again.

The Italian event is the home WTCR round for JAS Motorsport, Honda’s long-standing motorsport partner and the builder of the Civic Type R TCR.

Esteban Guerrieri #86 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « We are getting to the time now where the intensity of the title fight really starts to increase and the small details can make a big difference. I’m ready for another big battle at Adria, but we’re not expecting it to be easy. I’ve been doing the rain dance for the past week so it would be nice to see a wet track. The car will still be heavy this weekend due to the compensation weight and that won’t help us having to pull through the slow corners, of which there are quite a lot. But that’s the way it is and we’ve managed to keep in the fight so far, so I will be trying my best again this weekend to stay there. »

Néstor Girolami #29 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « I’m expecting it to be another really challenging weekend because the layout is new, although we were able to test at the track before the start of the season. It looks like the temperature will be cooler than at most of the other tracks so far this year, so it will be really important to get everything ready for the start of qualifying. Issues at the last two race weekends have put me a little bit further back in the standings, so we need to make the most of our opportunities here both for Esteban’s hopes and the Teams’ title with ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport. »

Tiago Monteiro #18 – ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport : « It’s very difficult to know what to expect at Adria, because even though we tested here earlier this year the conditions are bound to be very different. It’s a completely different layout compared to Pau-Arnos, but some of the characteristics are the same in that it’s another small and narrow track, and there is likely to be a heavy emphasis on traction. I felt the weekend in France was a positive step, even if that wasn’t reflected in the results, so I hope we can continue that upturn in form over the final two rounds of the season. »

Attila Tassi #9 – ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport : « I think qualifying is going to be very important this weekend – especially for me, having had difficult sessions at the last two rounds. We’re not expecting it to be an easy task either considering the layout, but I will be really pushing for this to put myself in the position to score the results I was able to show earlier this season. The stop-start nature of the track means we expect there to be quite a lot of demand on the brakes, so it will be important to get used to this early in practice; that won’t be easy considering the grip will probably be quite low. »

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