Esteban Guerreri gave the Honda Civic Type R TCR a perfect end to the inaugural WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup with a stunning victory on the fabled Macau Guia Circuit, while team-mate Timo Scheider also claimed his maiden podium finish in the series.
Esteban made a superb start to snatch the lead into the first corner and resisted intense pressure for the opening 11 laps of the race; his task made slightly easier by a late incident that forced a safety-car finish.
It was the Argentinian’s second win of the year and the fourth for a Honda. Coupled with a fifth-place finish in Race Two, it allowed he and ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport to secure third place in both the Drivers’ and Teams’ points tables.
Not only that; Esteban’s victory means that the Civic Type R TCR has now won in each of the three seasons in which it has appeared in Macau, adding to successes in 2015 and ’16.
Team-mate Timo had earlier finished a career-best second after a determined rearguard defence of his position for most of the race.
The German was denied the chance of points in the finale, however, when a suspension failure – caused by damage sustained in a hit from another car – put him out.
Yann Ehrlacher, driving the third Münnich Motorsport car, took two solid finishes in sixth and fifth. The Frenchman was spun around through 360 degrees at Lisboa at the start of Race Two, but miraculously regained control without contact and even maintained his fifth place.
After dutifully allowing team-mate Esteban to pass to help his Drivers’ Championship prospects, Yann finished sixth and then went one better later on and set fastest lap in the process.
Boutsen Ginion Racing’s Ma Qing Hua was unlucky to miss out on a points finish to end his WTCR comeback.
The Chinese driver started both races from 16th, but climbed to 13th and 11th by the finish of both races. His Race Three result was particularly unlucky as he’d been applying heavy pressure to the two cars ahead when the safety car came out for the finish.
Team-mate Tom Coronel made even greater progress. Twice he started 23rd and twice he drove through the field; maximising the speed of his Honda on the hillside to finish 16th and 14th.
New TCR China Teams’ Champions MacPro Racing made it three finishes out of three on their debut WTCR weekend at their home circuit.
Their Macanese driver, Andre Couto, was 20th in Race Two and finished 18th in Race Three.