Nestor Girolami capped a strong performance in qualifying for the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup’s Hungaroring round by securing fourth on the grid for Sunday’s second race.
The Argentinian, who was the fastest Honda Civic Type R TCR driver in every session on Saturday, progressed to the Q3 shootout segment of qualifying thanks to a stunning effort in Q2 that was quickest of all the first runs.
That pace of that lap, which was eventually the fourth fastest in Q2, was such that he did not need to head out for a second time – a feat made all the more impressive considering the Civic Type R TCR is carrying 60kg compensation weight for a second round in a row.
Fourth in the shootout meant he added a total of three points to his tally in the Drivers’ championship, having earlier set the fifth-fastest time in Q1.
Crucially, by only running once in Q2 ‘Bebu’ and ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport also saved two new tyres for Sunday.
His compatriot and team-mate Esteban Guerrieri was on course for a place in the top 10, and with it a favourable starting position for the reversed-grid Race One, until he was bumped back by late improvements.
Esteban felt he made a small mistake towards the end of his final effort in Q2, but was still satisfied with the progress he and the team made with the performance of his car from the start of the day.
That sentiment was echoed by Tiago Monteiro, whose ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Civic Type R TCR fell just three-hundredths short of a place in Q2.
A late improvement – the second of two ‘very good’ laps he felt he delivered in Q1 – got Tiago into the all-important top 12 to progress to the next part of qualifying, only for him to be bumped out after the chequered flag had been shown.
Home favourite Attila Tassi was only one tenth and one position further back, ending Q1 in 14th.
That position masked what had nevertheless been a strong effort from the 22-year-old, who was delayed during both practice sessions and only attempted one representative lap before qualifying.
Néstor Girolami #29 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « I have to say a big thanks to the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team, they did a brilliant job. From the beginning of the day I felt the car had a really good balance; we fine-tuned it for FP2 but I didn’t put the lap together so I knew we had something else for qualifying. To be honest, I didn’t expect to be in Q3 at the start of the weekend because we knew that the 60kg compensation weight was a lot to carry. The Q2 lap was key, and allowed us to save two tyres for tomorrow; I want to say it was the plan but I can’t, but it was still a welcome outcome. I’m really happy with it, it was a brilliant lap and everything that I had. »
Esteban Guerrieri #86 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « It hasn’t been an easy day, and we started with a complicated car – I didn’t have a great feeling. But we improved during the day and the best version of the car I had was in qualifying. The top 10 was the target; we were on course for that in Q1 but on my second Q2 lap I had a good sector one and sector two but I made a small mistake and just didn’t put sector three together. That’s the fine margin between a good qualifying and an average one, unfortunately. But I think we did a good job to improve the feeling and understand the issues we experienced. We’ll try to gather it all together again for tomorrow and score good points. »
Tiago Monteiro #18 – ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport : « We’ve come from being quite far away and struggling overall during the morning to being frustrated to just miss out on Q2. We tried a few things between practice sessions and it didn’t go in the right direction, I couldn’t drive very well, but in qualifying we found a nicer set-up and the car now feels really good. Out of three laps, I did two very good ones but obviously just missed Q2 by nothing – three hundredths. It’s frustrating, but that’s the way it is. We always knew the pace would be better than Aragon but still hard. Tomorrow, there are two races and a lot of things can happen – we’ll go with the maximum attack. I’m motivated and very happy with my car right now. »
Attila Tassi #9 – ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport : « It was quite a tough day in the end. I didn’t have the opportunity to put many laps on the board in FP1 or FP2 due to a couple of issues, and really I was only able to do one proper flying lap across the two sessions, so it was not ideal to start qualifying like this. From that point of view, I’m satisfied that I could make up for lost time and be close to my team-mates. I know there was still a little bit of time to be found – not helped by the track time that I lost – but I’m happy to have been in the 1m52s, and I think even without any problems I probably wouldn’t have found that much more. Not the easiest day but I’ll be giving it all tomorrow. »
Dominik Greiner – Münnich Motorsport : « Nestor’s result has probably exceeded our expectations slightly, so congratulations to him on a great performance throughout qualifying, and all the guys for the preparation of his car considering how comfortable he has been with it from the start of FP1. Although the rest of the results don’t quite match that, the efforts of the team to improve the set-up of the cars and to get them into this performance window, particularly with 60kg of compensation weight and the effect this has, deserve praise. Esteban and Tiago both have packages they are confident to fight with tomorrow, and Attila did well to get close to Q2 after losing some track time in practice. »