Lopez: Guerrieri's pace shows how good Argentine drivers are
Reigning WTCC champion Jose Maria Lopez says he was not surprised by countryman Esteban Guerrieri's superb pace in the opening day of the Argentina weekend.
The Campos Racing driver, making his championship debut in his home circuit, blindsided the field by mixing it at the front from the get-go on Saturday, topping both practice sessions.
The young Argentine almost took pole but for a pit exit drama, where he was penalised and his provisional pole laptime was disallowed.
Lopez, who has known Guerrieri for a long time, said he was not surprised with the stunning performances put in by the newcomer so far.
"Esteban [Guerrieri]'s performances show the quality of the drivers in Argentina. It's easy to say now, but he knew he would be extremely quick," he added.
With Guerrieri's lap deleted, Lopez inherited pole: "I didn't have to go with the knife in my mouth, I didn't want to make any mistakes like I did the last two times.
"I knew he [Guerrieri] had been penalised so I just took it a bit easier in sector 1, and I'm very happy with my pole position."
Guerrieri says no one to blame for mistake
"No one is to blame for that, really," he said. "We are at the very back of the pitlane, so I set off perhaps a bit too early.
"My engineer did tell me to slow down, but the radio didn't work at that moment, and I was worried about my clutch, I didn't want to risk burning it.
"I'm happy that my fastest lap was the last one I did, which was my Q3 effort, so it means I am learning very well."
Despite missing out on pole, Guerrieri says he isn't overly disappointed and hopes to take the fight to the more experienced drivers in the races.
"I'm not that frustrated. Obviously you want to start from pole, but we are above the goal I set for myself before the weekend, so it's still okay.
"We have a very nice chance tomorrow to fight with the big guys and it will be fun. This is racing, fighting is what it's all about.
"I will push as much as I can, it would be good to know the guys you are racing against, but they are world class drivers, so I expect good fights."
Guerrieri will start from sixth in the first race and fifth in the main race.
Pietro Casillo / TouringCarTimes
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