Esteban Guerrieri admits that ‘sometimes you need a little bit of luck’ after the Argentine picked up more points than any other driver in the FIA World Touring Car Cup races in Japan – having endured a zero-score at the preceding event.
Guerrieri claimed a victory from an inherited pole position in Saturday’s first race to reclaim the lead of the drivers’ standings in an ideal start to the weekend at Honda’s home circuit.
The Münnich Motorsport driver then qualified in fourth for the final race of the weekend, as the second-best Honda driver behind KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro, to set himself up for a strong score.
The reversed-grid second race saw Guerrieri take points for tenth, with the 34-year-old believing he was lucky to score after ending the race on the verge of a tyre failure.
Then he took second in the last race of the weekend, benefitting when Monteiro ceded position to Guerrieri due to his better championship position.
“My race two today was pretty bad – I would say horrible because we struggled quite a lot mostly in the second part of the race, so I was quite worried,” said Guerrieri. “But I’m very proud of this turnaround that we could do in a few minutes, understanding what was going on there changing completely the car behaviour.
“In race three I was very quick, I could manage a good pace following the leaders and, in the end, overtake Tiago as he let me by.
“Unfortunately, he is not here with us because of a silly mistake apparently. He deserved to be second, but it was very helpful of him for the championship which at this stage every little point helps.
“Overall, I’m very happy. We scored a win, a podium and many points here in Japan, it couldn’t be better.”
Guerrieri leaves Suzuka with a six-point lead in the drivers’ standings after reclaiming the top spot after race three, and he admitted to being relieved to remaining in contention, with third place now 40 points adrift.
“In China we were competitive, but we didn’t have much luck. Here was the opposite, I would say because in race two I was about to have a puncture, so I was lucky to finish. Sometimes you need this little bit of luck.
“In China we didn’t score at all and here I scored more than 50. The important thing is to stay there in the fight for the title and we are doing this so far.
“Now we are going to Macau which is one of the most moments for me as a driver, so I’m looking forward to that.”