WTCR 2022
Round 5

Girolami in Vila Real qualifying top three as Tassi gets a front row

pt Vila Real

Two Honda Civic Type R TCR drivers will start in the top three in Sunday’s WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup races at Vila Real after Nestor Girolami and Attila Tassi both made the top 10 in qualifying.

Girolami in Vila Real qualifying top three as Tassi gets a front row

In a demanding, 75-minute long qualifying session, Nestor was the fastest of the Honda Racing drivers and made the Q3 pole position shootout thanks to an improvement in the dying stages of Q2 that put him fourth.

Once in the shootout he went one better, securing third place on the grid for the 30 minutes plus one lap Race One.

Team-mate Esteban Guerrieri was restricted to 14th in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Civic Type R TCR, falling in the first part of qualifying having struck a wall on his second run.

The Argentinian, who was ninth in FP2, looked a top-10 contender after the first runs but was shuffled down the order as lap times improved in the 30-minute long Q1.

There was better fortune for LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler driver Attila, who equalled his best qualifying result of the season.

On the streets where he claimed his maiden WTCR pole position three years ago, Attila showed excellent speed and was third in Q1 before recording the ninth-fastest time in Q2.

That result gives him second on the partially reversed grid for Race Two - the 100th race since the WTCR’s inception - and a second chance of the 2022 season to win a race, having been taken out at the start in Pau the last time he lined up in that grid slot.

Tiago Monteiro came agonisingly close to joining team-mate Attila in Q2, falling just 0.042 seconds shy of advancing from Q1 as he recorded the 13th-fastest time.

At his home event, Tiago dug in deep in qualifying but, despite the best efforts of him and his crew - who were able to send the car out for a fourth run in Q1 - there was to be no fairytale for the Portuguese driver, who again was unable to find the optimum set-up for his Civic Type R TCR.

As well as the WTCR’s 100th-race milestone, the Vila Real round is also the first to feature the joker lap since the most recent visit to the street circuit in 2019, with each driver having to take the alternative, longer route once during each race.

Néstor Girolami
Néstor Girolami 29
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
I was at the absolute maximum with both my final lap in Q2 and my shootout run in Q3, so I will be able to sleep very well tonight knowing I left nothing out there. We didn’t expect to make it to Q3, as it seemed to be quite clear after FP2 where our pace was, but then all of a sudden some cars didn’t seem to perform that well in qualifying. All I can say is that my fastest laps felt pure and I pushed 100%, you can see that from the way I brushed my mirrors against the barriers. I’m happy for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport that we’ve been able to secure this result today.

Esteban Guerrieri
Esteban Guerrieri 86
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
On my second run in Q1 I had some understeer and I didn’t expect the balance to be like that in the fast section, which meant I hit the wall with the front left of the car and had to abort the lap. After that, the car was a bit twisted for my last run in the session. I’d had a good progression until that point in the lap, but afterwards I was compromised. I felt like I could go for the top 10, but now we have to focus on tomorrow, see what the weather is like, and try to make some positions using the best strategy for the joker lap.

Attila Tassi
Attila Tassi 9
LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
Finally, I’m back in Q2 for the first time since Pau - it seems as though I like street circuits. I felt we developed the car nicely, session by session, and that I had the pace to challenge for Q3, but my first Q2 lap was not a great one; it was a bit safe, though I also touched the wall. Then, on my second run, I lost too much time in the first sector and despite improving in sector two it didn't seem like it would be enough to make Q3 so we decided to lift. Second on the reversed grid is a good reward for our efforts, and although I’m a little disappointed because I wanted to be in Q3 so much, on the other hand we have a good opportunity tomorrow.

Tiago Monteiro
Tiago Monteiro 18
LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
We came here not expecting so much, but to miss out on Q2 by such a small margin is very frustrating. I didn’t have an amazing rhythm, it was still a struggle to get that. My LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler crew did a fantastic job changing the tyres quickly enough to give me a fourth run in Q1 - I think we were the only ones who managed this - but I was overdriving a bit to make up for the set-up. When things are not in perfect shape at such a demanding and difficult track it makes it that bit harder. We still want to put on a good show to the fans and we’re so happy to be back. I’m sure there will be two exciting races tomorrow.

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