WTCR 2022
Round 8

Bahrain calling as Honda drivers resume WTCR campaign

bh Bahrain International Circuit

Honda’s WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup drivers and customer racing teams resume their 2022 campaigns this week as the series heads to the Bahrain International Circuit.

Bahrain calling as Honda drivers resume WTCR campaign

The visit to Bahrain marks the WTCR's first trip to the Middle East and, following a three-month break, also represents the first part of a busy end to the season - with the finale taking place a fortnight later in Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain’s 5.412-kilometre circuit will become the 22nd track to host the WTCR, which will be part of a double-header weekend alongside the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Nestor Girolami heads into the final two rounds of the season as the best-placed of the Honda Racing drivers. He remains very much in title contention in second in the standings, 35 points from the summit with 130 still on offer.

The Argentinian is enjoying his most competitive season in the WTCR to date and has two wins and three pole positions, both of which he is looking to add to in Bahrain.

Like Nestor, team-mate Esteban Guerrieri will be racing in Bahrain for the first time - but he can call on success from a previous visit to the Middle East.

Esteban was the winner of the final FIA World Touring Car Championship race in 2017, when he took a commanding win from pole position at the Lusail circuit in Qatar at the wheel of the Honda Civic WTCC.

That marked his first win as a Honda Racing driver, a tally he's since added 10 more successes to with the Honda Civic Type R TCR in the WTCR - making him the most successful driver in the series' history.

The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team both drivers race for heads to Bahrain following a successful trip to the Middle East, too, with team owner Rene Munnich taking two TCR class victories with the Civic Type R TCR at the first round of the Gulf Procar season at Dubai Autodrome last weekend.

Both of LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler's drivers will have previous experience of the track to draw from when they head to Bahrain.

Attila Tassi, who took LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler's first WTCR podium as a Honda customer in Vila Real in July, is the only driver in this weekend's field to have raced a TCR car at Bahrain.

He took a best finish of eighth at the circuit as part of his run to the runner-up spot in the TCR International Series in 2017 in a previous-generation Civic Type R TCR.

Tiago Monteiro meanwhile contested two grands prix at the circuit, recording the first top-10 finish of his Formula 1 career there in 2005.

The Portuguese racer took his best finish of 2022 last time out at Anneau du Rhin in August, and is looking to build on that at the final two rounds of the season.

The Bahrain weekend will be held over three days, with both free practice sessions taking place on Thursday, qualifying and Race One on Friday, and Race Two being staged on Saturday.

Néstor Girolami
Néstor Girolami 29
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
It's been a very good season for us so far and we want to keep that up in pursuit of the title at the final two rounds. I've scored points in all of the races so that makes me optimistic already for these last two events, and I know being second in the standings that the pressure is on the leader. Even though there is a gap, there are so many points still to play for. In that respect, we have nothing to lose and we are there to do our maximum - we definitely believe we can fight and we won't be giving up.

Esteban Guerrieri
Esteban Guerrieri 86
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
After a long break, it's great to be getting ready to race again. Bahrain will be a new track for me, but I have raced in the Middle East before - and of course have great memories of winning the final World Touring Car Championship race in Qatar in 2017, which was also my first victory for Honda. The season so far hasn't worked out as we would have hoped, but now we have two race weekends in a short space of time to go after the big results and end on a high, doing so while supporting Nestor's bid for the Drivers' Championship and also pushing to win the Teams' title.

Attila Tassi
Attila Tassi 9
LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
Although it’s been five years since I last raced in Bahrain, it’s nice to know preparing for the weekend that I will start with more relevant experience compared to the rest of the field. Any advantage, big or small, you always want to make the most of. We’ve found really good one-lap pace at the most recent races, even if that didn’t translate in qualifying last time, and I think carrying that form over will be really important for our chances - especially because as Honda drivers we want to have all the Civic Type R TCRs up there to maximise Nestor’s hopes in the title fight.

Tiago Monteiro
Tiago Monteiro 18
LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
I’ve raced in Bahrain before in Formula 1, but of course that was a very different experience compared to what it will be like in the Civic Type R TCR. It’s been a long break between races - perhaps longer than ideal to capitalise on the positivity of the Anneau du Rhin weekend - but in any case we are looking to replicate and build on that performance at the final two rounds. How easy that’s going to be in Bahrain, we don’t know; although the middle sector should suit the car, a lot of the lap time comes on the straights. What we do know is we’ll be giving it our all.

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