The 2019 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO fires back into life at WTCR Race of China next month (13-15 September) following the summer break. Esteban Guerrieri tops the standings for Honda-powered ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport. But as the Argentine is quick to admit, the job of taking the title is far from done with 12 races remaining and a maximum of 340 points up for grabs.
How good does it feel when you look at the standings and see your name at the top?
“It’s better to have the others to catch you than you to have to catch them. Probably it’s a little advantage but in the same time the competition is trying to get your place. But it’s a good position to approach the end part of the season.”
To what extent are you satisfied with the job you’ve done so far?
“I would call the job done in each approach you make in a weekend, in every lap, in every race, in every decision you make with your engineer. Many little jobs can give you the chance to fight in the last race for the title. That’s my goal, to be there to be ready to fight in the last race for the big trophy. Hopefully we can be in that position and being first right now is telling us we’ve been doing a pretty good job so far.”
What’s your approach going to be to WTCR Race of China?
“It’s the same for every race, the approach doesn’t change. I really enjoy driving this track, I have good memories from there and I’m excited to go back. Of course, it’s a very different position to be leading but that doesn’t matter much. Maybe you embrace the weekend in a different way, but nothing is disturbing my mind and my approach.”
How important was your victory at Ningbo in 2017?
“It was the event that was my breakthrough from one situation to a very different one. My win in the rain really impressed William De Braekeleerfrom Honda. He came to shake hands and that developed into my drive with Honda. It was quite a special situation for me.”
You’ve not competed since WTCR Race of Portugal at Vila Real in early July. What have you been doing to keep in the zone mentally and physically?
“The way to help the body is exercising and eating healthy. I have a very good trainer in Barcelona who has helped me to align my body in a better way and I feel really better in that area. I don’t know if this helps me or not on the moment I drive, but I just feel good with my body and this is very important for me. In my mind I’ve had a good moment of relaxation, a time to disconnect with my friends, to try not to think about the moments that might come. Each track is different and the best way to approach the weekend is to go through all the information you have from the past, looking at some onboards, remembering all the notes you have from the circuit, all the data. But before the event I’ll be doing simulator training, all the other stuff that gets me back to the focus of the racing.”
Of your rivals on the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID, who do you fear the most with four race weekends remaining?
“I wouldn’t underestimate any of my opponents. They are all there and they have all been winning races, all of them. Cyan Lynk & Co from my perspective have one gear more and maybe they put something else in this last part of the year. They have a very strong and professional package. And, also BRC Hyundai, because they are the former champions and they know how to revert a difficult situation during a weekend, which they have done already.”
As a driver, how exciting is it to be heading to the closing four events of the season knowing how strong the competition is?
“It’s definitely exciting, the difference between the cars is small so if you can make a really good job in mixed conditions, extract a bit more from one [particular] set of tyres or something like this then you could jump five places on the grid and this can make a big difference to your weekend. There’s always a little chance to gain something and the chance is an opportunity to take and this is very important.”