WTCR Qualifying flash: Girolami pips Ehrlacher with last-lap charge
Néstor Girolami closed the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup points gap to Goodyear #FollowTheLeader Yann Ehrlacher by topping the twilight qualifying action at WTCR Race of Germany, in a 40-minute session that ended with a last-ditch DHL Pole Position on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Girolami slashed Ehrlacher’s advantage to just five in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR after a final lap that pushed the Argentine to the top of the times and put him on the DHL Pole Position for Race 2. His time of 8m51.802s, a new WTCR qualifying lap record, was 1.163s faster than Ehrlacher’s best, after the Frenchman missed out on a final attempt by failing to pass the start line before the chequered flag was waved.
“That was one of the craziest things I have ever done in my life,” said Girolami after his stunning final lap in the fading sunshine. “The target was to score some points, but I felt so confident in the car I had to go for it and take some risks. The guys in the team deserve it. It was really getting dark and some parts of the circuit were difficult to see, missing the apex on some of the corners.”
Ehrlacher’s first lap in his Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR was still good enough to be second fastest, in a session that was affected by the extended recovery time for Jack Young’s Vuković Motorsport Renault Mégane RS TCR, which was stuck in the gravel at the hairpin on the Grand Prix circuit loop.
Attila Tassi, who had topped both free practice sessions, was third fastest in his ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda, ahead of Thed Björk’s Lynk & Co and WTCR Trophy contender Tom Coronel in his Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS. Mikel Azcona managed an impressive sixth fastest time in Zengő Motorsport’s new CUPRA Leon Competición.
Santiago Urrutia recovered from his crash in the second free practice session to reward his Cyan Performance team with the seventh fastest time, ahead of Esteban Guerrieri’s ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda and Jean-Karl Vernay’s Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris.
Nathanaël Berthon was P10 in his Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport entry, landing him the DHL Pole Position for the reverse-grid Race 1.
Yvan Muller was P11 in his Lynk & Co ahead of Tiago Monteiro’s Honda, Gábor Kismarty-Lechner’s CUPRA and WTCR Rookie Driver contender Gilles Magnus, whose session was ruined by a mechanical problem on his Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS. Young was classified in P15.
Race 1 of WTCR Race of Germany takes place on Friday at 16h40 local time.