ALL-INKL Münnich Motorsport are no strangers to slightly messy intra-team battles, and this time it was Tiago Monteiro and Esteban Guerrieri who were involved in the fight for supremacy.
With Cyan Racing’s Santiago Urrutia just up the road, Monteiro felt as though he had the pace to get past the Uruguayan for third place at his home event. However, the team decided that Guerrieri should be given the chance to make an overtake instead.
By the time the issue was resolved and the order was switched, the team had shot themselves in the foot slightly, as Urrutia had pulled away by an insurmountable distance with just a few laps to go.
In the end, Monteiro would reclaim fourth position from Guerrieri, which proved satisfactory for the Portuguese veteran, as he has now taken the championship points lead away from Hyundai’s Jean-Karl Vernay as a result.
Reflecting on the race, Monteiro was happy with his own performance, but did acknowledge that a lot of the work was done for him as a result of an error from stablemate Néstor Girolami.
“It was a good start. I was in the pack there and unfortunately Néstor [Girolami] locked up and pushed a few cars away, which gave me a clear path on the inside – similar to what happened at the Nordschleife,” Monteiro said. “So I was able to go straight away behind Santiago [Urrutia].
“From there I tried to push hard of course, but they [Cyan Racing] did a very good job and capitalised on a very good reversed race.
“From there we also learned a bit about the car and how it is evolving in the race. We have a few changes to do. I struggled a little bit towards the end of the race, but we understand why so we’ll make a few fine tunings.
“It’s good for the championship definitely, and the fight is wide open with many races to go. We’ll see what happens now in the next one.”
As for the dispute about strategy that was broadcast via team radio, Monteiro maintains that it is nothing unordinary, but is instead simply an inevitability of working with highly motivated racing drivers.
“It happens sometimes when we have different visions. The team had a view, I had another view.
“I was preparing myself to attack Santiago and they believed that Esteban [Guerrieri] was quicker at that point.
“I knew I had margin in me, so then I attacked again, but I didn’t want to make too much of a mess so I let Esteban pass. We’re doing teamwork, so that’s the way it is.”
After Guerrieri also proved to be unable to overtake Urrutia, the Argentine conceded at the last possible moment to hand fourth place back to Monteiro.
When asked whether he was concerned that Guerrieri would keep fourth position for himself, the new championship leader replied:
“No, it was clear. Always clear.”
This particular intra-team rivalry is set to enter a new chapter later this afternoon, as Guerrieri and Monteiro will share the front row of the grid for today’s WTCR feature race, which gets underway shortly at 15:15 local time.