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Esteban Guerrieri only found out about Honda drive when he landed

Esteban Guerrieri only found out about his works Honda drive in Japan when he landed in Tokyo for this weekend’s World Touring Car Championship races at the Twin Ring Motegi.

The Argentine has been a season regular for Campos Racing in an independent Chevrolet, but with regular Honda driver Tiago Monteiro forced to miss a second consecutive event on medical grounds, Honda were left looking for an alternative.

Gabriele Tarquini stood in for Monteiro in China, but with the Italian unavailable due to clashing commitments in TCR this weekend, Honda turned to WTCC regular Guerrieri for the drive.

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“It was very intense this couple of days,” explained Guerrieri. “I found out basically the decision that I was going to race for Castrol Honda when I landed here in Japan, so Japan received me very good!

“I was very happy and I want to thank Castrol Honda for this great opportunity. For me it’s an honour to reach this team and obviously I am very, very happy.

“It’s been quite intense after the race in China. Unfortunately, I am here because of Tiago’s injury and that feels not right, of course. Also it doesn’t feel [good] going away from one team and changing to another team but Campos was very pleased to let me go with Honda and I also want to thank them.

“Now the weekend has really started and I am very happy to try the car and have some good feelings. But I want to wish Tiago a healthy and quick recovery.”

Guerrieri ended first practice an impressive fifth fastest on his first outing in the Civic in the wet, ending up just over one second slower than regular Honda ace Norbert Michelisz.

“We came from a wet weekend in China so the feelings were quite similar on the grip side,” continued Guerrieri. “But on this track there are no puddles, no standing water, which is great.

“I just concentrated on driving and feeling the Honda car. From the beginning it was really good with really good feelings.

“I could work on different things, different details but basically it was a normal session with me adapting to the car and everything but everything was smooth so I am very pleased.”

Saturday featured just one on-track session in the WTCC, with second practice and qualifying moved to Sunday dye to typhoons in the region delaying the shipment to the Motegi paddock.

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