Nestor Girolami took his third WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup pole position of the 2022 season in qualifying at Anneau du Rhin.
On the occasion of the WTCR’s first visit to the French circuit, the Honda Racing driver was fastest in both the second and third parts of qualifying as he scooped the maximum 10 points on offer with a fastest time of 1m26.546s.
That came as he saved his best for the end, choosing to run last in the shootout segment of qualifying.
As well as being his third pole position of the season, it was also the second in succession for ‘Bebu’ – who made up more ground in the Drivers’ standings, in which he sits second.
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team-mate Esteban Guerrieri made the Q3 shootout session for a second weekend in a row, backing up fifth at Vallelunga with fourth in his Civic Type R TCR.
The Argentinian, who was second to his compatriot Nestor by 0.034 seconds in Q2, earned four points towards his own tally in the Drivers’ Championship and also helped ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport to make up ground in the Teams’ standings.
Tiago Monteiro scored his best qualifying performance of the season by taking sixth for LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler.
The Portuguese was a mere 0.077s from making it three Civic Type R TCRs in the pole position shootout with his time in Q2 – his small amount of frustration at that near-miss being tempered by a welcome return to the sharp end.
Team-mate Attila Tassi had to settle for 11th, but was unimpressed after being blocked on his final run in Q2 by cars that were on outlaps.
Attila’s pace was not in doubt, having been the quickest of the Honda quartet in both of Saturday’s practice sessions – a fact that made his place outside of the top 10, and a lack of action against those he had been blocked by, more difficult to take.
Néstor Girolami #29 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « This pole position is another example of great work in what’s been a really strong season for the team. The first sector is our weakest because of the long straight so I had to keep it clean there and be patient, knowing the rest of the lap would then come back to me. I was so close to the tyre stack through the final sector and thought I was going to clip it, but it was inch-perfect and worth the risk that had to be taken. The points all count and we’ve taken a few more out of the lead, with another chance to do the same on Sunday. »
Esteban Guerrieri #86 – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « Taking fourth place felt like a good qualifying result in the end, considering we were able to get both cars into Q3 and as a result have made up some ground on the team’s main rivals. Whether or not the others around us have a bit more in reserve at the moment, I don’t know, but we can only focus on ourselves and go into the races fighting from the second row. We’ll aim to be attacking. But for now we’ll enjoy a good qualifying result, especially as Nestor was able to secure another pole position. »
Tiago Monteiro #18 – LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler : « The end result is much more of what we’ve been looking for and better than it’s been so far this season. The performance has been there from the beginning of the weekend too, even though we need to fine-tune a few things. It’s so close so it’s a pity to miss Q3 by so little, but we can definitely fight from sixth and fifth on the grid. It will be interesting to see whether we lose positions before the first corner because it’s a long straight and we’re not fast due to the weight, but it’s important that we’ve been working hard to find solutions and are seeing that pay off in the progress we’ve made. »
Attila Tassi #9 – LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler : « I’m beyond frustrated. The car felt great right from the moment we left the pitlane and that showed in the times in both practice sessions, where I was the fastest Honda driver. We knew that everyone would make a step but even so I was confident about making my first appearance in Q3 of the season, so to have that undone because cars wouldn’t move aside while on their warm-up laps was a huge disappointment, especially as none of them were penalised. That means the great work LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler did to prepare such a good car has gone completely unrewarded. Still, Sunday is a new day and the aim is to come back fighting. »