Last season’s championship runner-up, Esteban Guerrieri, claimed victory and a valuable points haul in race three this afternoon, reducing the deficit at the top of the drivers’ standings to just twenty-two points.
After winning the opening race of the day and surviving a fraught race two to finish in the top ten, Guerrieri was on pole position again for the final race.
The Argentine had all three of his team-mates directly behind him on the grid, and as it turned out, he would need their help to convert pole into a second victory.
From the get-go, Guerrieri seemed to lack overall pace as the field remained bunched up behind the leading quartet of Hondas. However, his situation would only get worse when suddenly his front-right inner wheel arch covering came loose, as did his front splitter.
The resulting aerodynamic deficit certainly hampered his car’s outright speed, and so it was up to Tiago Monteiro and Néstor Girolami to effectively form a barrier between himself and the onrushing cars of Jean-Karl Vernay and Mikel Azcona.
In the end, the team’s plan came together as they were able to seal a 1-2-3 result to lock-out the podium. The result felt particularly important on this occasion, given that the they have recently been under the spotlight for the mishandling of their drivers on track.
Ending the day with a tally of sixty-nine points from the weekend as a whole, Guerrieri made sure to praise the Münnich Motorsport outfit after what had been a very fruitful event.
“It was definitely a hard, hard race,” he said. “Obviously I got a lot of protection from Tiago and Bebu [Girolami], great teamwork and I’m really pleased and thankful to them because my car was not in the condition to go quick today, or at least this race.
“The cover of the wheel from the inside was moving a lot, I realised something in the warm-up laps but we couldn’t find it, and then it started to move a lot, so then with the splitter [coming loose as well] there was a lot of vibration.
“I just said to God, “ok”, and I just kept pushing to see whatever happens. But yeah in the end I managed to win this race, which is very important for the championship so I’m really pleased.”
With the championship heading to its penultimate round in two weeks’ time, this upturn in form for the Argentine could prove vital if he is to avoid being the bridesmaid for the second year in a row. So, how does he rate his chances at the Spanish Motorland Aragón circuit?
“I have to be honest, we have experience of Aragón but it was wet all the time, a bit mixed sometimes,” he said. “It was our first test with the Goodyears, the new tyres this year. It was quite useful, but I think it’s going to be difficult to be as competitive as the Lynk & Cos which are basically our main rivals from now until the end of the season.
“A bit more rain would be good, I would say. If not the compensation weight will be a little bit against us for Aragón. Let’s see.
“At the moment we haven’t sat down and thought about Aragón yet, but we will do for sure in the next days to plan our best strategy and try to extract our best potential. But as I say, it’s not going to be easy, so let’s try to make it the best possible.”