Esteban Guerrieri ‘pleased to finish’ bruising second race

Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri was ‘pleased to finish’ a bruising second FIA World Touring Car Cup race at Pau-Arnos in France, after he was in the thick of the action late in the race.

Having claimed fourth in a much more sedate opening race, Guerrieri started the second race of the day in sixth on the grid.

At the start, Guerrieri benefitted from jumping points leader Yann Ehrlacher at the start, before Münnich Motorsport team-mate Néstor Girolami allowed his fellow Argentine into fifth further around the opening lap.

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At half distance Girolami had to retire with a tyre delamination and suspension issue, removing Guerrieri’s rear-guard.

Then, four laps from the finish, third-placed Norbert Michelisz’s pace rapidly dropped off, bunching up Santiago Urrutia, Geurrieri, Frédéric Vervisch and Ehrlacher.

As Vervisch looked up the inside of Guerrieri at Turn 10 contact was made, and Ehrlacher was also able to slip through, dropping the Argentine to seventh.

Guerrieri tried to pass Ehrlacher for sixth on lap 19 but clipped the tyre stack on the inside of Turn 10 which brought about a late-race safety car period to reinstate the stack.

When racing resumed for a last lap sprint, Guerrieri was again in the thick of the action and despite several contacts, he clung on to seventh.

Reflecting on his weekend, the Honda driver was quite relieved to simply finish the races considering the contact.

“It was quite a positive Sunday,” said Guerrieri. “We finished both races – that was not guaranteed considering the bruising races we saw – and we scored good points and managed to more or less maintain the gap to the points leader, despite having a slower car here.

“Race two was not easy, obviously, but with Norbi having a problem in front of us he messed up the race a bit. He was trying to hold on to his position and he made it very difficult for us.

“Then everybody was attacking and hitting me – Vervisch hit me in the rear tyre and then Yann, in Turn 4, re-joined the track and then pushed me off, so it wasn’t an easy race.

“I was also quite aggressive, but I tried to always be fair. In the end I was pleased to finish in P7 and the car stayed in one piece with all these bangs and crashes.

“We’re getting into the final straight of the championship and will be giving it a big fight until the end.”

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