After the controversies of Slovakia, Esteban Guerrieri made sure that he was in the headlines for all the right reasons on Saturday, securing pole position in two of the three World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) races set to be held tomorrow.
After having dominated the morning’s two practice sessions, Guerrieri continued his scintillating form at the Hungaroring into qualifying, eventually taking pole position for race three by a margin of more than half a second – an age by motor racing’s standards.
With this performance, the Argentine looks to have asserted himself as Münnich Motorsport’s team leader once again, marking himself out as Honda’s most likely champion candidate.
Earlier in the season, it had looked as though Néstor Girolami would be Honda’s main man, but after being overthrown on track by Guerrieri in race one, and then crashing out heavily of race two and withdrawing from race three at the Slovakiaring, the tide seems to have turned in Guerrieri’s favour.
Last season’s runner-up now currently finds himself in third place in the standings, 30 points behind series leader Yann Ehrlacher, but with the Frenchman qualifying well for race one and race two, Guerrieri will likely need to turn his poles into victories to make a significant dent into that gap.
For now though, the team could celebrate and reflect on what was a remarkable turn of pace from all four of their drivers today.
Arguably, Mikel Azcona should have been able to challenge the likes of Guerrieri for pole had he not suffered a procedural error before the one-lap shootout, but locking out the top four places in qualifying remains a remarkable achievement for Honda nonetheless.
“I’m really happy, really happy for the team,” Guerrieri said. “I have to thank them for the great car that I’ve had all day.
“It’s a shame for Mikel Azcona that he couldn’t put his lap [together]. I remember those mistakes, that happened to me when I started in WTCC so I want to be on pole and fight on track of course, but not like that.
“Nevertheless, I’m very happy for us. All four Honda drivers here in the top four, so yeah, I’m really pleased with how the ALL-INKL team worked today.”
After controversially battling with Girolami last time out instead of helping him, Guerrieri refused to be drawn on whether he was expecting any help in return from his compatriot tomorrow.
“We should take this opportunity, it’s a good one to try and get good points for all the team and let’s see tomorrow,” he said.
“The weather should be dry, but so far we’ve done a very, very good job. I’m really happy and now we will sit down, we will analyse how it will be for tomorrow, but yeah so far it’s been 100% from all the team.”