Guerrieri to fill in for Monteiro at Honda WTCC team at Motegi
|By Jack Cozens||Tuesday, October 24th 2017, 12:35 GMT|
Esteban Guerrieri will replace Tiago Monteiro in Honda's World Touring Car Championship line-up at Motegi after Kris Richard was announced as Campos Racing's driver for this weekend's event.
Richard won a one-round prize drive in the 2017 WTCC season as his reward for clinching the European Touring Car Cup last year.
He had initially been offered the opportunity to take up the drive at Monza in April, but could not race there due to clashing TCR Germany commitments.
Richard will now take Guerrieri's place in the Campos Racing Cruze this weekend, while Honda has announced Guerrieri as stand-in for Monteiro alongside title hopeful Norbert Michelisz and Ryo Michigami.
"I was sorry to hear that Tiago would not be able to race this weekend, but I'm extremely excited to have been given the opportunity to join Honda for Motegi and to drive a factory car in the WTCC," said Guerrieri.
"I'd also like to thank Campos Racing for their positivity throughout this process and to everybody who has helped in making my move to Honda possible.
"Motegi is a new circuit for me and I've never even driven the Civic WTCC, so I'm aware that there's a lot to learn, but I'm confident that I can do a strong job of helping Honda in the manufacturers' championship and supporting Norbi's drivers' title ambitions."
Monteiro's replacement at the previous Ningbo round in China, Gabriele Tarquini, could not act as stand-in in Japan due to pre-existing commitments relating to Hyundai's TCR programme.
Guerrieri has won two races so far this season and is seventh in the points.
Macau entry list revealed
The WTCC is set to feature a grid of 20 TC1 cars for the first time in Macau, with Guerrieri also working to sort a deal for that event.
Guerrieri's initial arrangement with Campos for 2017 covered five of the first six events in the team's full-season Chevrolet Cruze entry, but the partnership has continued to work on funding and Guerrieri has completed every round so far this year.
The Argentinian said recently he expected to see out the season, although Autosport understands this was initially on the proviso that he gave up his seat for Macau before returning for the Qatar season finale.
But while Guerrieri's name does not appear on the Macau entry list and is not formally confirmed for the November 18-19 event, he is expected to contest the pair of races on the Guia circuit.
It is not yet clear whether his Honda deal for Motegi will change that arrangement.
Should Guerrieri make it to Macau, it would mark the first time since the WTCC introduced the TC1 concept in 2014 that 20 cars built to those regulations have been entered for an event.
It would also be the biggest grid since the 2014 season finale in Macau, which featured 23 cars including six of the outgoing Super 2000 variants.
Ma Qing Hua won two races with the factory Citroen squad between 2014-15 and was previously announced as a returnee for a one-off appearance in Macau in a fourth C-Elysee to be run by Sebastien Loeb Racing.
Three other drivers - Mak Ka Lok (Lada Vesta), Po Wah Wong and Clerebold Chan Kin-Pong (both Campos Racing Chevrolet Cruzes) - are also one-off additions to the 16-car regular-season entry.
Erstwhile championship leader Monteiro won the most recent Guia touring car race in a TCR-spec Honda Civic in 2016 and is entered for the '17 event, despite his withdrawal from this weekend's preceding round.