Esteban Guerrieri capped another strong WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup campaign with a stunning victory during the final round of the season at Motorland Aragon.
After a tough qualifying session, Münnich Motorsport started the final raceday of 2020 knowing a reversal of fortunes would be required to prolong Esteban’s title challenge.
They got just that, as an inspired strategy call made jointly by the team and drivers led to a perfect 1-2 finish for the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport side of the garage.
While most started on full slicks on a damp surface, the Civic Type R TCRs of Esteban, Nestor Girolami and Tiago Monteiro all went for wet rear tyres – a decision influenced in part by their experience of how long the circuit had taken to dry during a pre-season test.
That paid dividends, as Nestor raced into the top three from 11th on the grid at the start, taking the lead before the end of the first lap as he romped clear of the chasing pack early on.
Esteban was delayed off the line but proved the wisdom behind the tyre strategy by climbing to seventh before the end of the first lap, and quickly picked his way through the cars ahead to move into second.
He gradually chipped away at his team-mate’s lead, which stood at six seconds at the start of the final lap, before ‘Bebu’ magnanimously allowed Esteban through to claim maximum points.
That extended Esteban’s title hopes into the penultimate race of the season, but in a cruel twist of fate his challenge came to an early end in race two when he and another car, which had slowed in the acceleration zone off the Turn 16 hairpin, made unavoidable contact, causing significant front-end damage to his Civic Type R TCR.
The race result put the 2020 title beyond Esteban’s reach, but repairs between races two and three ensured he made it out for the finale. Esteban finished 10th on the road, which should have secured third place overall, but a post-race penalty dropped him out of the points and into fourth in the standings.
Esteban’s race one success nevertheless brought the JAS Motorsport-built Civic Type R TCR’s tally for the season to five wins from 16 races, while his four victories matched his haul from the 30-race 2019 season, and means he is the first driver to have scored 10 wins in the WTCR.
The 1-2 finish also helped ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport secure its best result to date in the Teams’ championship, finishing runner-up after placing third in 2018 and 2019.
Nestor’s second place in race one was his fourth visit to the podium of the season, and helped him to a top-10 finish overall for a second year in a row.
As has been the case throughout the two race weekends in Spain, the Argentinian also made an excellent start in race two and gained four places on the opening lap – muscling ahead of the points leader – before a mid-pack squabble on lap two cost him ground.
He fought his way into seventh and was hunting down the pack ahead when he picked up radiator damage that led to an engine issue three laps from the finish, which marked the end of his race and his season.
It was a cruel early finish to a solid second campaign for the Argentinian, whose 10th place in the final standings was not indicative of his pace across the season.
Tiago Monteiro had been due to finish race one in eighth, if not better, until he pulled up on the penultimate lap with a wheel issue.
He bounced back in the second and third races, though, concluding a season in which he maintained his run of scoring a podium in every full year of World Touring Car competition with 10th and 12th-place finishes.
His ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport team-mate Attila Tassi ended his second full season of WTCR competition with a hat-trick of points finishes.
Though his was the only Civic Type R TCR not to use wet tyres in race one, the Hungarian still drove well through the pack – rising 10 places to finish 10th.
His best result came in race two, taking eighth, though he was on course for a seventh-place finish in the finale before ceding position to Esteban.
Attila and Tiago finished 12th and 15th respectively in the Drivers’ standings, with ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport sixth in the Teams’ points.