Esteban Guerrieri says he ‘new the last four rounds were going to get dirty’ after the Münnich Motorsport driver left Ningbo in China without scoring a single point in the FIA World Touring Car Cup races.
Guerrieri went into the event with a 24 point advantage over Norbert Michelisz in the drivers’ standings, but he left China with a 16 point deficit after a disastrous weekend.
Although the Honda driver qualified in ninth for Saturday’s first race, he suffered a self-inflicted disaster when he caught his car’s extinguisher release on the grid. That meant he could not take up his 12th place grid penalty, after his three-place demotion from the previous round was accounted for.
He then had to return to the pits for his team to clean up his car, and started the race from the pitlane, joining the field in last. From there the Argentine was only able to recover to 19th.
“It could have been a good day for points, but instead it’s been a very bad one,” said Guerrieri of Saturday’s misfortune. “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 pitlane.”
Sunday looked to be more promising, as Guerrieri improved his performance to qualify in sixth. However, he was taken out of both races two and three by other drivers, culminating in a broken left-front trackrod in the final race ending his participation.
The Honda driver slammed the driving standards across the weekend, which resulted in his loss of the drivers’ championship lead.
“Zero points this weekend – it’s the worst situation we could imagine and I’m now behind in the championship.
“I knew the last four rounds were going to get dirty. There are people who want to make sure I don’t score points. Sometimes you can escape this, but this weekend I could not.
“I got hit by many cars in race two and was in the barrier, and then by another driver in race three, which bent my trackrod and caused it to break when the safety car came out.
“A really terrible weekend, but all I can do is forget about it and try to get some momentum back at Suzuka.”