Fire extinguisher issue decimates Esteban Guerrieri’s points lead

A fire extinguisher going off on the grid ahead of the first race in China resulted in a disastrous race for championship leader Esteban Guerrieri, with the Argentinian only able to rescue a 19th place finish, outside of the points, from a pit lane start.

The Argentinian was the fastest of the four Honda drivers in qualifying, placing his Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic TCR in ninth, but was due to start from 12th due to a grid penalty hanging over from the last race after first lap contact with the Hyundai of Nicky Catsburg at Vila Real two months’ ago.

However, when he set off the fire extinguisher in error on the grid, the team had to wheel the car off the line. Guerrieri got out of the car and went back to the garage, almost certain his race was over, but the team managed to fit a replacement in time for him to make the start of the race and at least salvage an opportunity to score points, albeit in vain.

“It could have been a good day for points, but instead it’s been a very bad one,” said Guerrieri.

“From 12th on the grid, the top ten was the target and we could have achieved it. I went to put my glove on when I was preparing for the formation lap, but I clipped the fire extinguisher button by accident with my knuckles and it went off.

“The guys did an amazing job to clean up the car, but I had to start from the pit lane and although we recovered some positions, the championship lead is now much smaller. Tomorrow will be a very important day.”

Guerrieri is now nine points ahead of BRC Racing Team Hyundai driver Norbert Michelisz in the standings, heading into tomorrow’s two races.