RML Cruze TC1 race win in WTCC Opening Race in China
Wellingborough (UK) – 16th October 2017:
It was a new track for the World Touring Car Championship with the Ningbo International Speedpark hosting round seven for the two RML Chevrolet Cruze TC1s of Esteban Guerrieri of Campos Racing and Tom Coronel from ROAL Motorsport.
Following two wet Free Practice sessions Guerrieri qualified seventh while Coronel lined up 14th. Volvo driver Néstor Girolami claimed his maiden WTCC pole position trailed by Norbert Michelisz and Thed Bjork.
Due to the reverse grid for the opening race Guerrieri started his RML Chevrolet in fourth behind the safety car due to excessive water on track. As soon as racing commenced he quickly moved up two places until finally clearing front-runner Yann Ehrlacher after a mid-race restart, to take the lead where he remained until the flag. It was on his 11th lap of 18 he set the ‘Best Lap’ of the 4.01 km Ningbo circuit with a time of 2:03.753. Coronel was the last placed finisher moving up two places to 12th, two laps behind Guerrieri. Ehrlacher and Nicky Catsburg completed the podium.
There was minimal running in Sunday’s main race which started and finished behind the safety car after two timed laps, when officials declared conditions were too wet to run and red flagged the race. Guerrieri who had qualified in seventh finished sixth due to Rob Huff’s Citroën starting from the pitlane. Coronel moved two positions up the grid, finishing in 12th. Having started out in pole position Girolami from Polestar Cyan Racing claimed the top podium position accompanied by Michelisz and Bjork in second and third respectively having both maintained position throughout. Following WTCC sporting regulations, half points were awarded to drivers who completed more than two laps but less than 75% of the original race distance.
Guerrieri’s second WTCC win places him fourth in the WTCC Trophy Drivers’ Championship with 85 points just two points shy of third place. The Argentinian moves up to seventh overall in the Drivers’ standings with 143 points while, Coronel holds sixth in the Trophy Drivers’ positions with 42.5 points and 11th in the current championship standings with 34 points. The WTCC now heads to Twin Ring Motegi in the Tochigi Prefecture for the Race of Japan on 27th to 29th of October.