Esteban Guerrieri pulls out substantial lead after successful Nürburgring visit
Despite missing out on victory, two podiums and a pole position for Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri has seen the Argentinian extend his points lead to 45 points over the BRC Racing Hyundai driver Norbert Michelisz at the half-way point of the 2019 World Touring Car Cup.
After dominating the first qualifying session, taking pole position by six seconds ahead of Michelisz’s Hyundai in his Honda, making the most of being first on the road in wet conditions, Guerrieri converted Race 1 into a second-place finish behind Michelisz on Friday.
On Saturday, a steady run to sixth in Race 2, followed by another podium with third in Race 3, at one point challenging Benjamin Leuchter’s Volkswagen for the lead, has seen Guerrieri score the most points of the weekend, and move clear of Michelisz in the standings.
“This weekend was one excitement after the other. First, we had overheating brakes in Race 2, then no clutch on the way to the grid to Race 3, and then suddenly the clutch came back to normal on the formation lap,” said Guerrieri to TouringCarTimes.
“I had a good start, and then I went for a very nice move with Benny (at Döttinger Höhe). It was a great weekend, and very successful from the points side. The team did a great job. There are a few times where we’ve had the luck on side this year and we just have to be thankful for that.”
After Guerrieri battled Leuchter at the straight, he lost a spot to Comtoyou Racing’s Frédéric Vervisch, with his engineer Dave Scott advising him to settle for the points for third, with both his main rivals Michelisz and Thed Björk out of the race on the first lap.
“I didn’t answer, but he was right – so I just followed them and waited to see if there was any mess in front of me,” explained Guerrieri.
“If anyone was going to make the move anyway it was going to be Frédéric, not me, as on the straight he had the tow and I couldn’t catch him – and on the infield I didn’t want to go for any big risks and chose to settle for third.
“It’s very good to finish the first half of the year with 215 points, so we’ll try and keep this up. We’ll probably have the full compensation weight at Vila Real, as my Qualifying 1 lap was much quicker than the others, but I think we’ve found something good for the bumps and kerbs here, and hopefully that will work well for us in Vila Real as well.”