WTCR 2022
Round 1

1-2 for Girolami and Guerrieri in Pau qualifying

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Honda Racing drivers Nestor Girolami and Esteban Guerrieri sealed a magnificent 1-2 in qualifying for the opening round of the WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup season in Pau.

1-2 for Girolami and Guerrieri in Pau qualifying

The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team-mates set a pace that proved unbeatable in the final part of qualifying, as ‘Bebu’ secured the fourth pole position of his WTCR career.

Having been fastest in Q2, Esteban elected to go first in the Q3 shootout and laid down a 1m19.937s lap of the 2.760-kilometre street circuit, which was bettered only by Nestor’s 1m19.783s.

The result gave the Honda Civic Type R TCR duo the maximum 18 points on offer on Saturday, as the pole time from Nestor plus Esteban’s pacesetting effort in Q2 were the fastest across the three parts of qualifying.

There was reason to celebrate at LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler, too, as Attila Tassi pulled out a lap late in the second part of qualifying to secure ninth - giving him a place on the front row of the grid for the reversed-grid Race Two.

Having been bumped out of the top 10 in the final two minutes of a much-delayed Q2 session, which was halted for close to an hour so barrier repairs could be completed, Attila kept his cool to deliver a lap that guaranteed him second on the grid for the final race of the weekend.

That lap was made all the more impressive by the fact the team discovered after qualifying that he had been carrying some differential damage throughout the day.

Team-mate Tiago Monteiro was 15th, having earlier enjoyed the evolution of his Civic Type R TCR through practice before qualifying.

There, the Portuguese was unable to find the sweet spot with either of two new sets of front tyres he ran and ultimately switched to a used set.

That provided a better feeling and he improved his time, but ultimately fell just short of a place in Q2.

Néstor Girolami
Néstor Girolami 29
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
I think this is one of the best pole positions of my career. It’s not an easy track to drive at all, so it’s similar to taking a pole at a place like the Nordschleife - being fastest at these kinds of tracks makes you so proud. I’m really happy for the team, especially because they’ve given me an amazing car right from FP1 - we were always in the top three. In Q2, Esteban did a very good lap time that gave me a reference for where I had to go with the car, and I pushed a little bit more and this is the result. A 1-2 looks very strong for tomorrow, but we need to get the job done.

Esteban Guerrieri
Esteban Guerrieri 86
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
This is a great beginning to the year. We had a very progressive day, starting off a bit more anonymously and ending on a high, in great form. We extracted the maximum from the Honda Civic Type R TCR, which worked brilliantly; it’s in these circumstances that you really enjoy yourself in the car, when you can go and push for the final tenth of a second to extract the most from a lap. The team performed brilliantly so thank you to everyone at ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport. I just want to share this great moment with them.

Dominik Greiner
Dominik Greiner
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
It's a fantastic day. Not only have the team done an amazing job preparing the cars, but Nestor and Esteban were then excellent at building their speed as the day went on and getting the most from the car when it was needed in the first and second parts of qualifying especially, when a mistake could have made a big difference. Our mechanics should rightly be pleased with their efforts - not just in the build up these past few days but with some great and hard work over the winter too. But it's only half the work done, so hopefully we can complete the job tomorrow.

Attila Tassi
Attila Tassi 9
LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
To qualify ninth is a good end to a very productive day. It’s been great to be back in the car, and we’ve improved from the first session. After hitting the wall quite hard in FP1 I was still able to get on with the programme, and in FP2 we made some modifications to the car that worked well, then did the same again for qualifying. The balance of the car was nice, I just had some wheelspin in a few corners and we figured out that I was losing some front grip to some differential damage. But overall I’m very happy, and to be able to aim for a podium as the minimum for the first round is a great position to be in.

Tiago Monteiro
Tiago Monteiro 18
LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
It was a very frustrating day to be honest, and not the way I wanted to start the season - especially on a street track where it’s hard to overtake. The evolution during practice was good and I was happy, knowing that there were a few places where I and the car could find time. When it came to qualifying, unfortunately I couldn’t improve on either of my new sets of tyres. We just didn’t find the sweet spot - the front and rear weren’t quite connected - so we went to a used set that was in good condition and that’s when I set my best time. Starting near the back, we’ll have to be careful. We know there’s not a lot of overtaking opportunities, but we’ll do our best to bring some decent points.

Franz Engstler
Franz Engstler
LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
For the first event with the Honda Civic Type R TCR, it’s a good first day. It’s shown that we are well prepared and the drivers are motivated. Of course, Tiago’s qualifying was not as planned but still, Attila did a great job to get ninth position, which means a front row for Race Two. It’s really fantastic, a great start - especially on a city track, it’s important to qualify well. Even though their aims now are slightly different we’re hoping for the best with both drivers, for Attila at the front in Race Two and for Tiago coming through the pack in both races tomorrow.

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