Esteban Guerrieri believes the title battle in the FIA World Touring Car Cup is ‘still wide open’ after he qualified alongside points leader and pace-setter Norbert Michelisz in second qualifying in Sepang.
The Münnich Motorsport driver made up for the disappointment of qualifying in tenth in Friday’s first qualifying session by posting the second fastest time in second qualifying, albeit more than seven tenths behind Michelisz.
It means the Honda driver will start alongside Michelisz for both the second and third races on Sunday, giving the Argentine the opportunity to overturn the 15-point deficit which has opened up to the top of the table.
“For my side, it wasn’t frustrating to be honest, [to be in] the top ten, it was not the best qualifying but there were still things to improve,” said Guerrieri.
“I just kept focused on what we can do to get better, and then we went to the night session, this qualifying and the car felt very good at the rear.
“I started pushing and yeah, I got a very high level of performance and I was happy, we were always in the top five.
“I wanted to get into the top five to have a chance to fight for, probably not pole because we saw that Norbi was very fast, but for P2 that was my target because I saw that we had the potential and, well, here I am so the target is accomplished in second qualifying.
“I am very pleased with the team. They, we all did like all the details, we did right. We extracted everything from what we could, so I am really proud of them and yeah, let’s fight on Sunday.”
Guerrieri thus believes that the title race remains wide open, as both he ands Michelisz seek to claim their first world titles, with Cyan Racing’s Yvan Muller and Thed Björk failing to make a mark in ualifying.
“It’s still very wide open because I am starting next to him in both race two and race three and probably not so good in race one, but still the races are not over until the chequered flag so let’s see.
“Let’s see with the weather as well because apparently on Sunday there is some rain coming, so there might be something exciting.”