Attila Tassi became the first repeat winner in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup’s Pre-season Esports Championship with a faultless performance at the virtual Slovakiaring, while Esteban Guerrieri retook the lead in the series’ points standings.
In addition to Esteban’s Championship lead, Attila’s double victory and a win each for Esteban and Nestor Girolami means that four of the six races have been won by the virtual version of the Honda Civic Type R TCR, which has also secured three further podium positions.
The foundations for Sunday night’s victory were laid when Attila secured pole position for the partially reversed-grid second race by qualifying 10th, one position behind ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport teammate Tiago Monteiro, which ensured a front-row lockout for the virtual Civic Type R TCR on the race two grid.
Attila started the race well, then moved to the inside to give Tiago a tow down to the first corner – a move that helped them maintain their one-two through the opening sequence of corners, and which also allowed Attila to build a small lead while Tiago held the chasing pack back.
That proved to be a crucial break, with Attila putting in an exemplary drive thereafter and keeping the chasing pack out of slipstream range to win his second Pre-season Esports race by just under a second.
Attila’s victory also means the 21-year-old, who was fifth in race one, is yet to finish lower than second in the partially reversed-grid races.
Tiago’s selfless display deserved a strong result and, though he was shuffled back to 10th, that still contributed to his best points-scoring haul to date in the six-round Championship, following a 12th-place finish in race one.
Esteban reclaimed the points lead with a runner-up finish in race one.
The Argentinian had been fastest in the first part of qualifying, though a small misjudgment on his one-shot superpole lap meant he started the race from fourth.
Though he lost a position to his real-life ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport teammate Nestor on the opening lap, Esteban made it back up to fourth and then claimed third when Nestor was delayed attempting to overtake the second-place car.
Esteban had to bide his time behind the same competitor, but made a pass on lap three with a move at the Turn 3 hairpin, following a great slingshot off the high-speed first and second corners.
His second-place finish was his third podium from the first three rounds of the Championship, and was backed up with fourth in race two – an excellent performance from 10th on the grid.
Nestor’s strong pace went largely unrewarded in the first race, as he crossed the line in eighth despite running in the podium positions for some time.
After making it to the superpole shootout for the first time, ‘Bebu’ made a fast start from fifth on the grid to run third early on.
Though he was overtaken by Esteban, Nestor made it back into the podium places with an opportunistic pass on a rival – only to lose the position at the start of the following lap when he received a push from another competitor at Turn 1.
Another tangle with that driver delayed him further and cost him two positions and, having lost another place, there was one final incident for Nestor, who was tapped wide and overtaken at the final corner on the final lap. Nestor then finished sixth in a calmer second race.
The round nevertheless marked the end of a highly successful first half of the Championship for the Civic Type R TCR drivers.
Attila Tassi said: “I have to say a big thanks to Tiago – I think I owe him a beer now! He was a bit of a bodyguard for me and from lap two I knew I just needed to keep my concentration up and not make any mistakes. I took care of my tyres and was not at the maximum – obviously I was pushing quite hard, because I saw the two cars behind me were catching me up a bit. But the gap was enough, so I’m very happy to achieve my second win. I hope to keep this up over the rest of the Championship.”
Tiago Monteiro said: “This was definitely my best round yet, even if the results didn’t quite show it. It was great to break into the top 10 in qualifying, but there was a lot of action at the start of race one and the ground I lost limited the positions I could recover. Realistically, I knew it was going to be tough to stay with the leaders in race two, so I was very happy to have played the team role and delayed the field as much as I could while Attila escaped. Congratulations to him – I’m looking forward to the beer that he owes me when we can meet again!”
Esteban Guerrieri said: “My qualifying lap wasn’t great – I locked up into a hairpin and went wide. But even though I was not able to capitalize fully on being fastest in the first part of qualifying, it was a strong pair of races and it felt like the maximum from the grid positions; two top fours, one of which was a podium, was still very positive. That means we finished this first half of the competition in the lead of the Championship, which again is a good result considering I lost some points through no fault of my own in the previous round. Of course the aim is to keep this up, but I can only control my performances and these will have to be at the same high standard to remain top.”
Nestor Girolami said: “Unlike the previous round, I did not want to go for the reversed grid because I felt I had the pace to challenge for pole position, though I made a mistake on my lap. With the slipstream, the races were really intense, and trying to protect my position was really difficult because as soon as you start to fight with somebody the others start to pull away, then you lose the train, and going without it in Slovakia is difficult. It was not a perfect weekend, but scoring solid points in both races was the target since I didn’t have an opportunity to fight for the victory. Ending the first half of this Championship, taking away the mistake at the Salzburgring where I did not get Esteban’s slipstream in qualifying, our performance has been good.”