Race one winner Esteban Guerrieri says that the conditions in Sunday’s first World Touring Car Championship race in Ningbo were so bad that ‘you never knew where to brake’ each lap.
Guerrieri ended up winning his second WTCC race at the Ningbo International Speedpark in China, but the race was far from easy for the Argentine.
The Campos Racing driver had to pass early race leader Yann Ehrlacher into Turn 1 to take the lead, taking his Chevrolet off the racing line in what was a gamble for Guerrieri.
In the end the move stuck, and Guerrieri was able to hold out to the chequered flag as he demonstrated that he was clearly the fastest driver at the head of the field in atrocious weather conditions.
“It was very tough, with extreme conditions, all the time raining heavily. There was aquaplaning on the straights. You never knew where to brake, where to be safe and which was the safe line.
“I tried to take my references in the beginning to see what were the biggest problems for the car on the track. After that, I profited from Nicky [Catsburg]’s mistake in Turn 1, as his car was quite slow in the first sector and I could overtake him.
“Straightaway I could also overtake [John] Filippi. Yann was a bit far away but I was lucky with the safety car.
“My car was feeling okay overall, in the slippery conditions it was difficult but it was okay for driving. Then I saw Yann wasn’t on it onto the straight and I was catching him on the straight line and I had two choices: to lift on the straight because I was aquaplaning everywhere or keep it flat and keep catching him to try a move into the first corner.
“I chose the second one and it paid off because I could overtake him and then I had a clear track. I could do my pace and altogether it was good.”
The win lifts Guerrieri to seventh overall in the drivers’ championship standings, after he also claimed points for sixth in the abandoned race two – despite the Main Race featuring no racing laps.