Esteban Guerrieri has declared himself “in love” with the World Touring Car Championship, despite his series debut ending with more of a whimper than a bang.
The Argentine driver was signed in a one-off deal to drive on home soil at Termas de Río Hondo in a third RML Chevrolet Cruze for Campos Racing. After sensationally topping both free practice sessions, he was on course to continue his headline-grabbing feats with pole position.
A session-topping time was ultimately disallowed when it emerged he had exited the pits on a red light, and that served as a possible early warning for a series of problems he would encounter in both of Sunday’s races where many had expected he could challenge for victory.
Guerrieri was forced to retire his car early in the opening race after encountering gearshift problems and breaking a suspension mount. The transmission problem wasn’t fully fixed in time for the second race, and he had to recover the positions he lost with a sluggish start. He recovered back to sixth place, but could make no further progress when his brakes started to play up.
“We had a few problems with the clutch in the first race,” Guerrieri recalled. “I had a bad start and then we had a touch with a Honda Civic and it broke my upright, so I had to stop. In race two again we had no clutch so I made another manual start, which wasn’t ideal.
“[Finishing sixth] is still good for all the guys after all the effort, it’s cool and I’m happy with this. Thanks to everybody.”
The youngster is hopeful that his outing could prove to be a launchpad for further races in the category, which he admits has quickly grown on him.
“Now the weekend has finished I would say I love the WTCC. It’s definitely a category that’s nice, it’s a World Championship and this weekend I tested myself against a very good level of drivers, good guys driving out there and good teams as well,” he added.
“It’s the best touring car championship in the world and if there is a chance I would be very keen to analyse it and go forward.”
Image via FIA WTCC Media