Esteban Guerrieri snatched the lead of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup on a challenging day for Honda Civic Type R TCR drivers at Zandvoort.
Entering the weekend weighed down by 50kg of compensation weight, the event was expected to be a tough one for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, and so Saturday proved.
With just 0.4 seconds separating the cars from fifth to 22nd in morning qualifying, both Guerrieri and his formerly points-leading team-mate Nestor Girolami secured 16th and 14th places on the grid for the opening race.
However, with both denied a new-tyre flying lap at the end of the session as a red flag ended things two minutes early, neither Argentinian had the opportunity to challenge for the top six.
With ‘Bebu’ suffering a five-place grid drop for overtaking another car under red-flag conditions while running at extremely slow speed at pit entry, and other cars also penalised, Esteban was promoted to 14th on the grid.
From there he started strongly and finished 12th. With Bebu starting 18th, but recovering to a points-paying 15th, he is now one point behind Esteban in the title battle while Münnich are 47 clear in the Teams’ Championship.
KCMG’s Attila Tassi was also hit hard by the end-of-session red flag. The team had made significant strides in performance since the Slovakiaring event last weekend and were also part of the tightly-bunched midfield pack.
Attila was denied the chance to improve while Tiago Monteiro was on-course to move into the top 10 on his final flying lap, only to run off the circuit and into the gravel late-on.
From 21st and 25th, Attila and Tiago finished 18th and 21st in the race. Attila was later excluded when a broken connector in his ECU left his car unable to be properly checked by officials post-race, which promoted Tiago to 20th.
Sunday features a separate qualifying session to set the grid for Races Two and Three.