Honda Racing duo Esteban Guerrieri and Nestor Girolami will have solid points within reach in Sunday’s WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup races at Pau-Arnos after both qualified in the top 10.
For a second weekend in a row the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport pair both looked a safe bet for a place in the top 10, with Esteban eventually edging his Argentinian compatriot by 0.051 seconds as they secured sixth and seventh.
Esteban, who also earned a bonus point for setting the fifth-fastest time in Q1, was just a tenth away from advancing his Honda Civic Type R TCR to the Q3 pole position shootout for a second round in succession.
He will start both races alongside the Championship leader, whom he trails by 25 points.
Nestor meanwhile continued his strong run of form by making the top 10 in qualifying for a third round in succession.
He will have the podium in sight in Race One, as he will start from fourth on the partially reversed grid.
Qualifying was one of contrasting results for the two drivers in the ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport garage.
Tiago Monteiro was the best-placed in 11th, though his result was bittersweet as he qualified just three hundredths off 10th and pole for the partially reversed-grid race.
The Portuguese made a big stride with his car’s set-up before the session and ended Q2 barely a tenth behind his team-mates, but the tight nature of the pack was such that he was just the wrong side of the top-10 cut-off.
Team-mate Attila Tassi also made changes to his set-up ahead of qualifying but, despite being happy with the feel of his Civic Type R TCR, could not advance from Q1.
He will start both races from 18th, with the aim of making up as much ground as possible.
Esteban Guerrieri #86 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « It was an intense day, both because we had to get to grips with a new track and because the field was so tight again. I enjoyed it though, and I think we finished the day having extracted the maximum result – there was maybe one tenth left but it would not have been enough to make a difference in Q2. We don’t have the fastest car here, but we are where we want to be in terms of position compared to our main rivals for the Championship. That was very important today so that’s the first job done, but we’ll keep digging. »
Néstor Girolami #29 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « We finished the day with good positions by securing sixth and seventh between Esteban and myself. It was a shame Tiago couldn’t make the top 10 because that would have been a perfect Q2, but overall I am quite happy with the result and as a team we should be too. I might have had ninth, and second on the reversed grid, had I not improved on my second Q2 attempt, but it was too risky because plenty of other cars were going faster. With a Monday newspaper you might have the benefit of hindsight to say it could have been better, but I think achieving the top 10 on this track was a good effort whichever way. »
Tiago Monteiro #18 – ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport : « On the one hand 11th represents a great improvement from where we were this morning, because to be honest I was struggling a bit with the set-up and the driving and I wasn’t really enjoying it. We kept working with my engineer and I found some confidence with the set-up that we went for – which is actually quite different from my team-mates’ – and the times came. We were fighting for the top 10 and I thought it was doable, so to miss it by such a small amount is tough. But we don’t have it, so let’s focus on scoring some good points because we know the races are going to be a big challenge. I’m curious to see how they will go. »
Attila Tassi #9 – ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport : « It wasn’t the qualifying I was hoping for after a pretty good FP1 and an OK FP2. We made some fairly big changes on the car for qualifying and those affected its behaviour, but it felt the best it had throughout the weekend. I know I’m losing time, three or four tenths, in sector two and sector three, but I honestly didn’t feel anything this significant on my lap so it will be good to see where that’s coming from in the data. I’m sorry for my team that the result wasn’t better, because they worked hard on my car today. »
Dominik Greiner – Münnich Motorsport : « Overall it was a satisfying enough qualifying. We saw throughout practice that we did not have the fastest package, so to end up with two cars in the top 10 and with chances for both to score strong points in the races was a good result. It’s a shame that Tiago just missed out on 10th, but on the other hand he and the team did a great job improving the car to his liking. Attila reported that he was happy with the car, so we need to look into the data to see where the time is missing and what we can do to make it better. »
Mads Fischer – JAS Motorsport : « To have two cars in the top 10 is a decent result. While there are parts of the track that play to the strengths of the Civic Type R TCR, overall it’s not the most favourable and we expected that the competition would be tough to beat, so Esteban and Nestor both did a good job to put themselves in contention. It’s disappointing for Tiago that he couldn’t join them, but there was a good improvement across the day and the opportunities are still there from just outside the top 10. Attila’s result is not what he wanted, but he’ll come back fighting tomorrow. »