A podium finish at Honda’s home circuit of Suzuka helped ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri to increase his advantage in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup standings on Sunday.
The Argentinian started Race Three from fourth place in his Civic Type R TCR, gained one spot at the start and then passed fellow Honda Racing driver Tiago Monteiro two laps from the end to secure second spot.
His result was his ninth podium finish of the year and edged him six points clear of his nearest challenger in the race for the title.
His 57-point weekend total was also the highest score of any driver and moved Münnich Motorsport to within five points of the Teams’ Championship lead.
Team-mate Nestor Girolami endured a frustrating day and finished the two races 11th and 13th. Hit on the final lap of Race Two while fighting for position, he was promoted one spot when his rival was penalised for the contact.
Further contact on the first lap of Race Three led to the loss of several more spots, but a determined rearguard action in defence of what became 14th spot did at least allow the Argentinian to secure vital points and keep him sixth in the Drivers’ standings.
KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro was the highest-placed Honda driver in Race Two in sixth spot and wound up with his best weekend points total of the year as he added fourth spot in Race Three.
The Vila Real race winner had run second for most of the final encounter, but after being passed for second, he was then overtaken under safety-car conditions for the final podium when he mistakenly headed for the pitlane, believing the race to be over before he had taken the chequered flag.
Realising his mistake instantly, he rejoined the circuit, but was penalised 10 seconds when race officials judged he had overtaken another car under the safety-car conditions. This dropped him to 15th in the results.
Team-mate Attila Tassi started 10th in Race Two, but was hit on the first lap and suffered a damaged exhaust that left him without full power down Suzuka’s long start/finish straight and contributed to him finishing 24th.
He finished 11th in Race Three, but was penalised five seconds for not lining up fully inside his grid box at the start. While that should have still ensured a points finish, the race finishing under safety-car conditions meant he was classified 18th.
Wildcard team-mate Jim Ka To narrowly avoided being part of a multi-car crash at the start of Race Three and drove two consistent races to finish 28th and 22nd.
NOTE – This report has been updated to reflect the impact of the post-race penalties on the points situation.