Honda Racing’s WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup drivers are aiming to make up ground as the second half of the campaign begins at Autodrom Most this weekend.
After just one round in the last 12 weekends, the visit to Most – which is the first circuit in Czechia to host the WTCR – marks the start of a busy end of season run-in, with four rounds scheduled in the space of eight weeks.
It is also the first of four visits to tracks not previously raced at, either by the WTCR or in the preceding World Touring Car Championship era.
Results were hard to come by at the previous two rounds, with the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport and ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCRs carrying 60kg of compensation weight on both occasions.
There were however signs of encouragement at the second of those events at the Hungaroring, and a tone of cautious optimism is shared by all four drivers ahead of the visit to the 4.212-kilometre Most circuit, which features a long main straight, a more technical second sector, and a flowing section of Esses towards the end of the lap.
The Civic Type R TCR will continue to run the maximum level of compensation weight in Czechia and is therefore the heaviest car on the grid once more, despite three rival brands having their ballast increased for the event.
Esteban Guerrieri is the highest-placed of the Honda Racing quartet in the standings and hungry for results entering the second half of the season.
The record WTCR win holder, who has not added to his tally of 10 victories so far in 2021, lived in Czechia earlier in his motorsport career but has not raced at Most before.
His team-mate Nestor Girolami was in fine form at the Hungaroring, and was only denied a podium after the conclusion of Race Two, having finished second on the road.
The 32-year-old is looking to carry that pace over and hit the ground running when FP1 begins on Friday morning – a quirk of the Most race weekend, where the WTCR shares the billing with the FIM Endurance World Championship.
Attila Tassi and Tiago Monteiro have both won races this season for ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, and sit just outside the top 10 in the Drivers’ Championship, knowing a strong weekend could vault them up the order.
Attila, whose win at Estoril earlier this year was his maiden success and made him the second-youngest winner in the WTCR, anticipates a hectic Friday as teams and drivers get to grips with the circuit before qualifying in the evening.
Portuguese racer Tiago has a World Touring Car podium in Czechia from the WTCC’s visit to Brno in 2009. He is aware of the importance of a strong weekend to build momentum for the remaining events.
While the two practice sessions and qualifying will take place a day earlier than usual at Most, both races will run as normal on Sunday afternoon.