Honda’s WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup drivers endured a frustrating qualifying session at Motorland Aragon as the full effect of their handicaps at the Spanish circuit was exposed.
With each Honda Civic Type R TCR saddled with the maximum 60kg compensation, Münnich Motorsport and all four drivers began the weekend braced for a tough time – a fear that was realised in qualifying when three of the cars were eliminated at the first hurdle.
Nestor Girolami was the only one of the quartet to make Q2, squeezing through in 12th place, and felt he maximised his and the car’s potential on his way to securing eighth in the second session.
That effort also means ‘Bebu’ will line up third on the partially reversed-grid for race two, which offers him an opportunity to score valuable points for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport in the Teams’ championship fight.
The Argentinian will start Sunday’s first race from 17th, with a five-place grid penalty carried over from the Hungaroring round applied to his position in Q1, which sets the grid for race one.
Nestor’s team-mate Esteban Guerrieri suffered a disappointing qualifying session, ending up 19th in his Civic Type R TCR.
Esteban, who is second in the Drivers’ championship, was limited to 19th in the first part of qualifying as he struggled to put either of his runs together.
One consolation for the 2019 WTCR runner-up is that he will start all three races immediately behind his main rival, offering him a chance to take on the standings leader and reduce his 22-point deficit in the title chase.
ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport pair Tiago Monteiro and Attila Tassi both had their second qualifying attempts on new tyres thwarted by the same rival cars.
Being blocked meant Tiago had to rely on his first timed lap as his best for the session, as he gave up his final run to tow championship hopeful Esteban.
The Portuguese nevertheless ended up content with 13th, missing the cut for Q2 by two tenths of a second.
Attila was also held up on his second run, before making contact with one of the rival cars as it came back onto the racing line in his path – for which his assailant received a three-place grid penalty.
The 21-year-old then backed out of his third run in the final sector so as not to jeopardise Esteban’s starting position.
After qualifying, several drivers had Q1 or Q2 lap times reinstated that had originally been struck off for track limits violations. As a consequence, Nestor Girolami was classified 11th in Q2 and will now start races two and three from that position, while Tiago Monteiro also moved down one position to 14th in Q1.