WTCR Race 3 flash: Guerrieri doubles up in Honda-powered all-Munnich podium
Esteban Guerrieri secured his second victory of the WTCR Race of Hungary weekend to close the gap on WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup title rival Yann Ehrlacher in a thrilling Race 3 at the Hungaroring.
Starting from the DHL Pole Position, Race 1 winner Guerrieri was never headed in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR to claim his third win of the season, as team-mates Tiago Monteiro and Néstor Girolami ran shotgun to complete a podium lock-out. Goodyear #FollowTheLeader Yann Ehrlacher finished eighth, which reduced his points advantage to Guerrieri to 22 with six races remaining.
But this was not an easy race for Guerrieri, whose pace was affected by a loose front splitter and wheel arch liner. “It was definitely a hard race,” he said. “I had great protection from Tiago and Néstor and it was perfect team work. My car was not as quick so I’m grateful to them. It’s important for the championship.”
The Argentine made a perfect getaway to lead into Turn 1 as his Honda team-mates shielded him. But home-grown ace Attila Tassi, starting on the front row beside Guerrieri, found himself shuffled back and was passed by Jean-Karl Vernay’s Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris.
Behind Tassi, Mikel Azcona settled into sixth, chased by a trio of Cyan-run Lynk & Cos, with Ehrlacher supported by uncle Yvan Muller and Santiago Urrutia.
Gabriele Tarquini was on a mission for BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, moving up the order from P12 on the grid. He was in P10 by lap five, then mixed it with the Lynk & Cos, pulling off strong moves on Urrutia and Muller.
Meanwhile, Azcona passed Tassi at the start of the ninth lap with a decisive effort on the inside of Turn 1. The Spaniard then made an opportunistic move on Vernay on lap 11 to claim fourth position and WTCR Trophy honours behind the three leading Hondas. Vernay held on to fifth, ahead of Tassi.
Tarquini made a great pass on Ehrlacher at the chicane on lap 11 to claim seventh. The Frenchman had his points lead to think about, and wasn’t about to take any big risks and fight too hard. He banked safe points in eighth ahead of Muller and King of WTCR Norbert Michelisz, who rose from P14 to complete the top 10. The local hero enjoyed a spirited battle with Urrutia, who suffered a puncture as a result of contact with another car at Turn 13 on lap 10.
Nathanaël Berthon finished in P11 for Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, ahead of Thed Björk’s Lynk & Co, the Audis of Tom Coronel and Gilles Magnus, and Wildcard Luca Filippi’s Alfa Romeo.