Nestor Girolami set the third-fastest time in WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup qualifying at Sochi, as team-mate Esteban Guerrieri narrowly missed out on a place in the Q3 shootout.

‘Bebu’ got better and better as qualifying went on; having just squeezed through the first part in 12th, he went third fastest in Q2.

He then pulled out the fastest final sector of all in Q3 to bag a second-row start for the final race of the season, outqualifying one of team-mate Esteban’s rivals for the title in doing so.

Esteban, who remains in mathematical contention for the title with 50 points on offer in Sunday’s races, could not have come closer to making it two ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCRs in the shootout as he was bumped out by one thousandth of a second in Q2.

He will therefore start Race One from fifth on the partially reversed grid, and one place further back in the season finale.

While Nestor progressed to Q2, Attila Tassi was left to rue what might have been as he missed out on a place in the session.

Having tried some experimental car changes in FP2, Attila went back to his planned set-up for qualifying but was confined to 13th on the grid for both Sunday races by just three hundredths.

His will be the only ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Civic Type R TCR on grid, with Tiago Monteiro unable to take part in Sunday’s races.

Tiago felt unwell prior to practice and, having visited the circuit medical centre, he was later transferred to hospital to be treated for a bacterial chest infection. He is in good spirits.

Nestor Girolami

Nestor Girolami 29

"It was a bit of a complicated day for us, as we knew that with the long straights here our performance would be a bit compromised. We were quite a way back in FP1, then started to pick up the pace to be in the fight for the top 10. The track changed quite a lot from FP2 to qualifying and I just got through to Q2, but we made some changes after that. The car felt much better and I just understood how to drive it faster. It was important to be in front of Esteban’s Championship rivals, so my full focus now is on the races and trying my best to help him."

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Esteban Guerrieri

Esteban Guerrieri 86

"It was a competitive day. We are better in the wet conditions than what we looked to be on slicks in FP1, so that little bit of rain was welcome. It would have been good to be in Q3 and just missing out by one thousandth hurt a little bit, but being in the top 10 is still a good job, especially with Nestor in third. I’m hoping it stays wet overnight; that would shuffle the cards a bit more. It was fun to drive and to adapt to the track, so let’s see how we go tomorrow. I’m hoping Tiago gets well soon too."

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Attila Tassi

Attila Tassi 9

"We tried some extreme changes - much more than we were planning to do - to see what effect they had. After that we went back to the original one we had in mind, which was working quite well. My first lap in Q1 was my best and I just missed out on Q2 by half a tenth. It’s a bit hard to know where that was; we can see how much the track has improved between sessions, and on a two-and-a-half-minute lap that time difference can be anywhere. We were down by one car, but the most important thing is Tiago’s health. I hope he starts to feel better soon."

ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport
Dominik Greiner

Dominik Greiner

Team Manager

"The results on track today have been OK, with Nestor showing some really good speed when it mattered in qualifying, but right now we are much more interested in what’s happening away from the track and all of the team is sending its best to Tiago; we hope he is starting to feel better. It would be great if we can send him a message of positivity tomorrow by ending the season with some strong results."

Münnich Motorsport
Mads Fischer

Mads Fischer

TCR Project Leader, JAS Motorsport

"It was the final qualifying session of the year and Nestor saved a really good final lap for it to take third. Things were looking a little bit trickier than we had expected for the Civic Type R TCR after FP1, so the arrival of the rain was welcome and the pace clearly improved with that; Esteban was unlucky not to make the shootout in the end, and Attila wasn't far away even if he just missed the cut to get out of Q1. Of course, the most important thing to say is that we are sending our best to Tiago and hoping he makes a quick recovery."

JAS Motorsport
WTCR Race of Russia

Sochi Autodrom, Russia

WTCR 2021, Round 8

Sunday 28 Nov 2021, 08:01 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Total Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Yvan Muller 100 FRA 10 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 2'29.624
2 Mikel Azcona 96 SPA 8 Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2'29.972
3 Nestor Girolami 29 ARG 3 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda 2'30.069
4 Nathanael Berthon 17 FRA 3 Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi 2'30.285
5 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA 1 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 2'31.887
6 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG - ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda 2'30.970
7 Rob Huff 79 GBR 2 Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2'31.085
8 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA - Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai 2'31.112
9 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL - Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi 2'31.221
10 Gilles Magnus 16 BEL - Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi 2'31.654
11 Santiago Urrutia 12 URU 3 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 2'31.819
12 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN - BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai 2'32.511
13 Attila Tassi 9 HUN - ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda 2'32.573
14 Jordi Gene 28 SPA - Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2'32.741
15 Luca Engstler 8 GER - Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai 2'32.762
16 Gabriele Tarquini 3 ITA - BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai 2'32.811
17 Tom Coronel 32 NDL - Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi 2'32.964
18 Thed Björk 11 SWE - Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 2'33.135
19 Bence Boldizs 55 HUN - Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2'33.781
20 Kirill Ladygin 20 RUS - Lada Sport Rosneft Lada 2'34.448
21 Mikhail Mityaev 30 RUS - Lada Sport Rosneft Lada 2'36.019
NC Tiago Monteiro 18 POR - ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda DNF