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Esteban Guerrieri on ‘very special’ Marrakech WTCR Race one victory

Esteban Guerrieri claimed a brilliant race victory in the FIA World Touring Car Cup first race in Marrakech, praising the work by his Münnich Motorsport team, including teammate Néstor Girolami, and a “very fair” Thed Björk.

The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport driver rounded off an clean sweep in the first day of the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup by converting his maiden pole position to victory in race one.

The Argentine was emotional in highlighting the journey the team have been through over the winter break, and his happiness in starting the season with a pole and 1-3 finish.

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“This is special,” said Guerrieri. “With Néstor [Girolami] beside me, we visualised this moment a long time ago, years ago, and here we are standing as Honda drivers and being supported so much by a great team, and my second year with them.

“In this last month it hasn’t been easy on the personal side, but I try always to focus and develop the car as best we could, and I was feeling that we were getting better and better with very good pre-season testing.

“So I was feeling quite positive, but I didn’t know what to expect until we arrived here in Marrakech. But our feelings were right and I’m really pleased with life, with the universe. It presents situations and you have to be patient and take things step by step.”

The Argentine had to fend off Cyan Racing’s Thed Björk as the grid headed into turn one. The drivers gave each other space and Björk was forced to fall in line behind the pole sitter.

“It was normal but I had some wheelspin, I knew straightaway and I short-shifted to second,” explained the race winner. “I knew Thed was going to come – and he came!

“I arrived at the first corner, but I would say he was very fair in not fighting too much. He tried to do something in the braking zone, but I went deep on the brakes and we went round the corner and he settle for second.”

Guerrieri’s position was unchallenged for the remaining laps despite never breaking away from leading group.

With temperatures increasing throughout the day the pressure was on drivers to manage their cars during the race.

The 34-year-old was able to lap quickly, but ensure his car would make it to the chequered flag.

“Since then [the start], controlling the speed, the car was great not a problem,” commented the three-time race winner.

In the second half of the race a team radio message revealed that Guerrieri’s Honda Civic Type-R was in a marginal situation.

“I got some yellow lights in one moment, like and alarm, and I was a bit worried but after that it was good.”

In repeating his 2017 WTCC victory at Marrakech, Guerrieri clearly has a strong car underneath him, and the Argentine has driven perfectly to put himself in a position to leave the opening race weekend a strong championship position.

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