Esteban Guerrieri leaves it late to top second practice

Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri denied team-mate Néstor Girolami the top time in second practice for the FIA World Touring Car Cup in Bahrain.

Girolami – who is points leader Mikel Azcona’s closest challenger – had been fastest but with a minute left his team-mate Guerrieri pipped him to the best lap with an effort of 2 minutes 10.935 seconds, as the pace in Sakhir increased by seven tenths of a second over the earlier session.

Guerrieri – very much supporting Argentine compatriot Girolami’s title bid – was thus over two tenths of a second faster than his fellow Honda racer.

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“It’s good to be fastest, definitely,” said Guerrieri. “It’s a track where you need to put everything together, it’s such a long track. Very dusty or sandy in some places but now it is getting grippier.

“You need to be driving fast but trying not to over-drive. If you want to attack as a race car driver you can go slower, so you need to be fast but smooth.

“I was happy with the performance, the car works really well and I’m very happy. The guys brought new chassis and everything worked well.”

Azcona was once again third quickest, the Hyundai driver just 0.018 seconds further back, having been quickest until just over ten minutes to go, ahead of the leading Comtoyou Racing Audi of Gilles Magnus in fourth.

The second BRC Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz was fifth, ahead of Morocco’s Mehdi Bennani in sixth.

First practice pace-setter Nathanaël Berthon put his Audi in seventh with an effort that was very close to his morning best but ultimately just under seven tenths of a second off the FP2 benchmark.

Team Engstler’s Tiago Monteiro was eighth, whilst the top ten was completed by the wildcard entries of Comtoyou’s Franco Girolami and BRC Racing’s Nicky Catsburg, the latter being the only other driver within a second of the pace.

Comtoyou’s Tom Coronel was 11th, Attila Tassi put his Honda in 12th, and the wildcard Audi of Viktor Davidovski was 13th.

This time out both of the Zengő Motorsport CUPRAs of Bence Boldizs and Dániel Nagy made it onto track, the Hungarians ending up in 14th and 15th respectively, just under two seconds off the pace.

Qualifying is scheduled to get underway at 12:40 local time (09:40 GMT) on Friday.

Session results

POS NO NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 10 2:10.935
2 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 9 2:11.179 0.244
3 96 Mikel AZCONA BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR 9 2:11.197 0.262
4 16 Gilles MAGNUS Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 9 2:11.393 0.458
5 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR 9 2:11.402 0.467
6 25 Mehdi BENNANI Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 12 2:11.577 0.642
7 17 Nathanaël BERTHON Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 10 2:11.604 0.669
8 18 Tiago MONTEIRO Liqui Moly Team Engstler Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 12 2:11.654 0.719
9 72 Franco GIROLAMI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 9 2:11.693 0.758
10 88 Nicky CATSBURG BRC Hyundai N Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR 9 2:11.931 0.996
11 33 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 11 2:11.959 1.024
12 9 Attila TASSI Liqui Moly Team Engstler Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 9 2:12.046 1.111
13 110 Viktor DAVIDOVSKI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 8 2:12.526 1.591
14 66 Bence BOLDIZS Zengő Motorsport Services Kft CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 11 2:12.794 1.859
15 99 Dániel NAGY Zengő Motorsport Services Kft CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 10 2:12.905 1.970
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