WTCR Qualifying flash: Girolami storms to Alsace GrandEst pole position
Néstor Girolami stormed to his third WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup pole position of 2022 with a perfect performance in qualifying at WTCR Race Alsace GrandEst.
The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport driver lapped Circuit l’Anneau du Rhin in 1m26.546 during the single-lap pole-position shootout in Q3 to take the top spot from home hero Nathanaël Berthon of Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport.
Having set the pace in Q2, Girolami had free choice of when to complete his Q3 lap; the Argentinian choosing to go last of the five drivers who had made it into the final section of Qualifying.
His choice proved inspired as he beat Berthon by just 0.026s. His lap pole lap also secured him 10 bonus points meaning he closed the gap to Goodyear #FollowTheLeader Mikel Azcona to 32 points.
“It was insane,” Girolami said. “I was doing the maximum that could be achieved. We knew the track temperature was going down so choosing to go last was going to be an advantage.
“Huge thank you to the ALL-INKL team and HRC in Japan. Everyone did a great job. Tomorrow’s going to be difficult, but with some hard work we’ll manage.”
Behind Berthon’s Audi were BRC Hyundai N Squadra driver Azcona, Girolami’s Honda team-mate Esteban Guerrieri and Gilles Magnus, whose Comtoyou team replaced his Audi’s turbo in just 15 minutes at the start of the session.
LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler’s Tiago Monteiro enjoyed his best qualifying performance of the season in sixth spot while team-mate Attila Tassi was knocked out of the reckoning for a top-10 result – and pole position on Race 2’s partially-reversed grid – by just 0.034s.
Behind Monteiro were Berthon’s team-mate Tom Coronel and the Hyundai Elantra N TCR of practice pace-setter Norbert Michelisz.
Zengő Motorsport’s Rob Huff and Comtoyou’s Mehdi Bennani completed the top 10, giving the Moroccan pole position for Race Two ahead of the CUPRA-powered Briton.