The sensational Macau street circuit is the scene for the penultimate round of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup this weekend as Honda Civic Type R TCR teams continue their push for the championship.

Esteban Guerrieri’s victory for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport on the fabled 6.2-km course last year means the Civic has triumphed at Macau in each of the last three seasons a race for TCR machinery has been run.

The Argentinian; three times a WTCR race winner in 2019, holds a six-point advantage at the head of the Drivers’ Championship and could clinch the title in the former Portuguese enclave.

But with six races remaining and 170 points still up for grabs, the identity of the champion is unlikely to be known until the season finale at Sepang, Malaysia, in December.

Team-mate Nestor Girolami was a points-finisher on his last visit to Macau in 2017, but has never raced a TCR car there.

However, with experience gained by racing at street circuits in Argentina and on the WTCR calendar in Morocco and Portugal, he is fully prepared for the weekend and aims to improve on his current sixth place in the Drivers’ points.

An addition to his three 2019 wins would also help the cause of Münnich Motorsport, who lie just four points off the lead of the Teams’ standings and second overall with 306 to play for.

Like Esteban, KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro is a previous winner at the Macau Guia race; the Portuguese triumphing in a Civic Type R TCR in 2016, when the event was part of the TCR International Series.

Significantly, this year marks Tiago’s first appearance on the street circuit – where he also claimed the Civic’s first World Touring Car podium finish in 2012 – since that success three years ago.

But coming off an excellent event at Honda’s home circuit of Suzuka, where he scored his first WTCR pole position and his highest weekend points total of the season, he is full of confidence.

Team-mate Attila Tassi became the youngest polesitter in WTCR history at Vila Real and, having narrowly missed out on another front-row start at Suzuka, is chasing more points in Macau.

That Vila Real pole was the last time the 19-year-old Hungarian competed at a street circuit, and he has prior experience of racing at Macau in TCR machinery from 2016.

A record eight Civic Type R TCRs will be present in Macau with the usual quartet being joined by four wildcard entries.

Jim Ka To, who debuted at Suzuka with KC Motorgroup, continues for a second event with the team.

Team TRC will run three more Hong Kong racers; James Tang, Arthur Law and Terence Tse.  All are regular competitors this year in the Zhuhai-based Pan-Delta Track Hero series with a number of starts in Macau GP support races between them.

Esteban Guerrieri

Esteban Guerrieri 86

“Macau is one of the most challenging circuits in the world and the feeling of satisfaction when you get a good lap in qualifying is something that’s hard to repeat anywhere else. Last year I won here to finish the season in the best way possible, but as a team, we were very fast with each of our cars, and I hope we can do this again. Of course, this time the stakes are much higher. I’m leading the championship and we have a good chance to take the lead in the Teams’ ranking as well. I know I come here with a target on my back, so we just need to do the best job we possibly can in qualifying and the races and try to score big points.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Nestor Girolami

Nestor Girolami 29

“Macau is one of the best street circuits in the world, but because the walls are so close, one tiny mistake can be magnified and could ruin your weekend. This will make qualifying more important than normal. Not only do you have to avoid mistakes with your driving, you have to be able to react fastest if red flags come so that you don’t lose your chance to challenge for pole position. If we can stay out of trouble, I think that as a team, we can repeat their team’s achievement of winning last year. That’s the target.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Tiago Monteiro

Tiago Monteiro 18

“Macau is a special place for me; not just because of the Portuguese connection, but because in 2012 I scored the first WTCC podium for the Honda Civic and then in 2016 I won the Guia Race in a Civic Type R TCR. I haven’t raced in Macau since then, but I have enough experience of the circuit from single-seaters and touring cars that it shouldn’t take long to get back into the swing of things. After my pole position and podium finish at Suzuka, it’s clear we have good speed with the car in the wet or dry, so my aim is to get the best possible result.”

Attila Tassi

Attila Tassi 9

“I’m looking forward to Macau, not just for the incredible challenge the circuit presents, but because some of our strongest events this year have been on street circuits, so I’m sure we can continue that form. I raced here once before in a TCR, so the circuit is not totally new to me, but I’ll definitely feel more comfortable when I’ve had the experience of the first practice session to find out how the car is working and in which areas of the track we look strong and which areas we need to develop. As a team, we’ve had improved speed over the last four events and I think we have a great opportunity for some good points or maybe even more.”

WTCR Race of Macau

Macau Guia Circuit, Macau

WTCR 2019, Round 9