Esteban Guerreri staged a remarkable recovery to put his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R on pole position for a crucial WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup race on the fabled streets of Macau on Friday.

The Argentinian, who leads the championship with just six races remaining, hauled his car into 10th place in the second part of the three-stage afternoon qualifying session, sealing pole on Race 2’s partially-reversed grid by less than a tenth of a second.

The achievement was a remarkable turnaround for last year’s Macau race winner, who qualified 13th for Saturday’s opener, but was then sent to the back of the grid after his team decided to replace a down-on-power engine that had been losing him up to one second of laptime in the flat-out blast along Macau’s shoreline section.

Team-mate Nestor Girolami qualified 18th in the morning and did exactly the same later on; each time providing Esteban with a tow to assist his title hopes.

Having never driven a TCR machine at Macau before Thursday, he was comfortable with his improvement in 24 hours.

KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro starts Saturday’s opener from 15th place, and was confident of making the top 10 in the afternoon and featuring in the reversed-grid mix.

Unfortunately for the Portuguese driver, the winner of Macau’s Guia Race in 2016, a succession of yellow and red flags prevented him from setting a single representative time and limited him to 26th.

Team-mate Attila Tassi, like Tiago, was appearing at Macau for the first time in three years. Recovering from a practice incident, he qualified 22nd in the morning and improved to 17th later in the day.

KC Motorgroup’s wildcard entry, driven by Hong Kong’s Jim Ka To, qualified 27th for the opening race. Ka To, however, was involved in a collision in the afternoon session without having set a laptime, and will have to receive special dispensation to start on Sunday.

Team TRC’s wildcard drivers endured a tough day. James Tang was the fastest of them and went 29th and 28th, despite a spin in the final minute of the opening section of the afternoon running. However, neither lap was fast enough to make the grid for the races.

Terence Tse crashed in both the morning and the afternoon and did not set a laptime fast enough to surpass the 107 per cent qualifying mark either. Following Friday practice, Arthur Law opted not to take part in today’s sessions.

Esteban Guerrieri

Esteban Guerrieri 86

“I think we achieved the maximum today in the afternoon. From the disappointment of practice and first qualifying, and then the engine change, I can’t tell you how amazing in feels to be starting on pole position for Race Two. The guys did an incredible job to get everything changed. Last in the first race, first in the next one… Today’s been a rollercoaster, but I’m so proud of the guys. Tomorrow probably won’t give us much, but we have great potential for Sunday and for Sepang.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Nestor Girolami

Nestor Girolami 29

“Today was really hard because we had a lot of things to overcome from practice, but actually we made a good step forwards. My grid positions are not the best, but we did a good team job to help Esteban as much as possible with a slipstream. I didn’t get a big slipstream like him, but I was only 0.4 seconds slower, so that’s quite close actually. The key for the rest of the weekend is to avoid any incidents and try to score as many points as possible to keep us in the running for the Teams’ Championship.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Attila Tassi

Attila Tassi 9

“The positions were not so good, but I made good progress from first qualifying through to the afternoon, and when you consider my lack of experience at this circuit compared to Tiago, I’m pretty pleased to only be a little bit behind him on time. I could have been faster in the afternoon; but I had yellow flags and was blocked a bit. I think I’d have been right up with Esteban, challenging for a Q2 spot.”

KCMG
Tiago Monteiro

Tiago Monteiro 18

"We didn't so a single flying lap. Yellow flags, cars crashing... We had decent pace and I thought we could challenge for the reversed-grid pole. I'm so frustrated because from yesterday, we knew the speed was ok. Yes we were losing time on the straights, but in the twisty section, the balance was very good. It was just a case of ‘wrong place, wrong time, every time’. It’s the most frustrating qualifying session of my life."

KCMG
Jim Ka To

Jim Ka To 19

“I lost a lot of track time in practice because of an incident, so I was playing catch-up today. I was the fastest wildcard in the morning qualifying and I was confident of making more progress as I found more comfort with the car later on. In the afternoon session, I was on my first pushing lap, I came out of the hairpin and I just got hit from behind by [Robert] Dahlgren and my session was over. I think he could have avoided hitting me. We will ask the organisers if we can still start on Sunday because we were well inside the 107 per cent mark in Q1.”

KC Motorgroup
James Tang

James Tang 98

“It’s been a fantastic experience to compete at Macau against the world’s best touring car drivers. This is my 10th time here, but all the other times have been in support events, so it’s a big step up for me and my team. I’m proud to be the fastest wildcard in the afternoon qualifying, but disappointed I wasn’t quite able to get inside the 107 per cent time. I was on target to get in during Q2, but on my last lap I was hit from behind by [Aurelien] Panis. He went ‘bang, bang,’ and I spun. I’m proud of my team and we’ll enjoy the rest of the weekend supporting the other Hondas.”

Team TRC
Dominik Greiner

Dominik Greiner

Team Manager

“I’m so proud of the job done by the crew on Esteban’s car for changing the engine in record time – less than two hours – and the result of being on pole for the reversed-grid race, which was the target, is the most we could have expected today. Starting Race One from the back with Esteban is a huge penalty, but we made good progress from practice and it should put us in a situation where we can maximise our potential to score big points in Race Two – and hopefully win it – and add more in Race Three.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Dario d’Esposito

Dario d'Esposito

Team Principal

“The first session was not so bad today and we went into second quali quite confident of being close to or in the top 12, but because of blocking, yellow flags, red flags, the lack of a decent tow and some other things, we didn’t get a clear lap with Tiago, so we were much further back. The BoP isn’t helping us this weekend anywhere, so it’s hard to be fast. We’ll still try to make sure we score points with both drivers.”

KCMG
WTCR Race of Macau

Macau Guia Circuit, Macau

WTCR 2019, Round 9

Friday 15 Nov 2019, 07:23 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Total Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Rob Huff 12 GBR 5 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 2:28.538
2 Andy Priaulx 111 GBR 4 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +2:28.744
3 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA 3 Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi +2:29.336
4 Nick Catsburg 88 NDL 2 BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai +2:29.531
5 Johan Kristoffersson 14 SWE 1 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Volkswagen +2:31.369
6 Yvan Muller 100 FRA 0 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +2:28.960
7 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA 0 Mulsanne Srl Alfa Romeo +2:29.010
8 Thed Björk 11 SWE 0 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +2:29.133
9 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA 0 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +2:29.291
10 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:29.291
11 Gabriele Tarquini 1 ITA 0 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai +2:29.571
12 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN 0 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai +2:29.986
13 Niels Langeveld 10 NDL 0 Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi +2:30.070
14 Tom Coronel 50 NDL 0 Comtoyou DHL Team Cupra Racing Cupra +2:30.092
15 Luca Engstler 6 GER 0 Team Engstler Hyundai +2:30.146
16 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR 0 Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi +2:30.180
17 Attila Tassi 9 HUN 0 KCMG Honda +2:30.359
18 Nestor Girolami 29 ARG 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:30.375
19 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL 0 Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi +2:30.510
20 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen +2:30.684
21 Robert Dahlgren 2 SWE 0 PWR Racing Cupra +2:31.048
22 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA 0 Comtoyou DHL Team Cupra Racing Audi +2:31.498
23 Mikel Azcona 96 SPA 0 PWR Racing Cupra +2:31.605
24 Qing Hua Ma 55 CHN 0 Mulsanne Srl Alfa Romeo +2:31.691
25 Benjamin Leuchter 33 GER 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Volkswagen +2:31.871
26 Tiago Monteiro 18 POR 0 KCMG Honda +2:32.183
27 Billy Lo 36 MAC 0 TSRT Zuver Team Audi +2:35.384
28 James Tang 98 CHN 0 Team TRC Honda +2:37.801
29 Anson Wong 59 CHN 0 Son Veng Racing Team Volkswagen +2:41.201
30 Jim Ka To 19 CHN 0 KC Motorgroup Honda +No time
31 Terence Tse 97 CHN 0 Team TRC Honda +No time
Friday 15 Nov 2019, 02:55 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Total Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Yvan Muller 100 FRA 5 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 2:28.661
2 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN 4 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai +2:28.729
3 Andy Priaulx 111 GBR 3 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +2:28.806
4 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA 2 Mulsanne Srl Alfa Romeo +2:28.846
5 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA 1 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +2:28.942
6 Thed Björk 11 SWE 0 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +2:29.060
7 Rob Huff 12 GBR 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen +2:29.451
8 Gabriele Tarquini 1 ITA 0 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai +2:29.470
9 Benjamin Leuchter 33 GER 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Volkswagen +2:29.660
10 Mikel Azcona 96 SPA 0 PWR Racing Cupra +2:29.683
11 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL 0 Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi +2:29.709
12 Nick Catsburg 88 NDL 0 BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai +2:29.833
13 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:29.891
14 Robert Dahlgren 2 SWE 0 PWR Racing Cupra +2:29.919
15 Tiago Monteiro 18 POR 0 KCMG Honda +2:30.039
16 Johan Kristoffersson 14 SWE 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Volkswagen +2:30.200
17 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA 0 Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi +2:30.353
18 Nestor Girolami 29 ARG 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:30.445
19 Qing Hua Ma 55 CHN 0 Mulsanne Srl Alfa Romeo +2:30.462
20 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA 0 Comtoyou DHL Team Cupra Racing Audi +2:30.788
21 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen +2:30.835
22 Attila Tassi 9 HUN 0 KCMG Honda +2:30.867
23 Niels Langeveld 10 NDL 0 Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi +2:30.888
24 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR 0 Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi +2:31.533
25 Luca Engstler 6 GER 0 Team Engstler Hyundai +2:31.608
26 Tom Coronel 50 NDL 0 Comtoyou DHL Team Cupra Racing Cupra +2:31.654
27 Jim Ka To 19 CHN 0 KC Motorgroup Honda +2:33.654
28 Billy Lo 36 MAC 0 TSRT Zuver Team Audi +2:34.791
29 James Tang 98 CHN 0 Team TRC Honda +2:36.795
30 Anson Wong 59 CHN 0 Son Veng Racing Team Volkswagen +2:39.999
31 Terence Tse 97 CHN 0 Team TRC Honda +2:43.146