Podium for Guerrieri as Girolami takes title fight to finale
Esteban Guerrieri took his second podium of the WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup season with a strong drive to second place in Race Two in Bahrain.
The Argentinian leapt from third on the grid into the lead at the first corner and, followed by the second-place car, made an early escape in the opening laps while others were delayed by a clash at Turn 4.
Esteban maintained the lead for the opening four laps but was then passed into Turn 1. Though he gallantly kept pace in the laps immediately afterwards, he ultimately crossed the line just over a second behind the race winner.
Second still matched his best finish of 2022, a result he also secured at the season opener in Pau, and lifted him to eighth in the standings with two races of the campaign remaining to climb more places.
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team-mate Nestor Girolami dug in deep in Race Two to ensure he heads to the season finale in Jeddah in mathematical contention for the WTCR title.
‘Bebu’ had a good start in Race Two, climbing to fifth after avoiding the Turn 4 melee, but his performance was affected by running in the dirty air of cars ahead.
Though he fought valiantly, he had little defence against cars with superior straightline speed and finished the race ninth.
He therefore ended the weekend 60 points behind the standings leader, with 65 points on offer in Saudi Arabia in two weeks’ time.
Tiago Monteiro had a far more encouraging run in Race Two than in Race One the night before, and spent much of the race in the same group as Nestor en route to 12th place.
Despite effectively writing Race Two off as a test session due to the set-up changes LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler made overnight after Race One, the Portuguese was satisfied with the effect those tweaks had and Tiago worked his way into the top 10 then fought hard to keep pace with the pack.
Though he dropped two places, his efforts meant he came home within 2.5 seconds of a top-10 finish.
Tiago’s LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler team-mate Attila Tassi had little in the way of luck for a second race in row.
Having started fifth, Attila again made another excellent start and was in contention for third place into Turn 4 when two cars tried to pass him on the inside into the right-hander.
Though he took avoiding action he was unable to prevent light contact with one of those cars, and was then hit by another competitor through the downhill Esses and dropped to the tail of the top 10.
Attila attempted to keep going but struggled badly with oversteer and, having pitted his Civic Type R TCR at the end of lap five, did not return to the track.