Series leader Nestor Girolami secured a front-row start for Sunday’s WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup triple-header on an intensive rain-affected day of qualifying at the Slovakiaring.

The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport driver braved a topsy-turvy Race Three qualifying to end Q2 ninth in his Honda Civic Type R TCR; a result that puts him second on Race Two’s partially-reversed grid.

Team-mate Esteban Guerrieri went a step further and reached Q3 for a second straight event.

Timing his one new-tyre run to perfection on the rapidly-drying track surface, he ended Q2 second.

Compromised by the maximum 60kg compensation weight applied to all Civic Type R TCRs as a result of their success at the opening two rounds, he slipped to fourth in Q3’s pole-position shoot-out on a track that was virtually dry.

In the earlier session, which had decided the grid for the opening race of the weekend on Sunday morning, Esteban and Bebu qualified eighth and 11th.

Like the Münnich pair, KCMG drivers Tiago Monteiro and Attila Tassi were heavily affected by carrying the maximum compensation weight, which made all the Civic Type R TCRs 90kg heavier than the lightest car in the field.

Tiago and Attila qualified 21st and 23rd in the first session, but were confident of improving their positions when the rain fell one hour before the all-important multi-stage session later on.

Having gone to the top of the timesheets with five minutes to go, Attila looked set to progress to Q2 for the first time in 2019.

However, a decision not to fit new tyres at the end of the session left him unable to improve and as others completed their final laps, he fell to 21st. Tiago, affected by briefly driving off the circuit on his first flying lap on new slicks, did likewise and qualified 24th.

Nestor Girolami

Nestor Girolami 29

“We knew that the compensation weight was going to challenge us today, but we’ve done a good job. I’ve been around 10th place all day in practice and qualifying and having the front-row position for Race Two is a huge achievement, even if it’s something you can never plan for because the times are so close. We didn’t do many laps in qualifying and managed to time the one lap in Q2 very well. Whether it’s wet or dry on race day, we’re on course to score the number of points we’re targeting and stay ahead in the championship.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Esteban Guerrieri

Esteban Guerrieri 86

“I’m pretty happy with fifth place overall in second qualifying. It’s probably better to be first or second or ninth or 10th, because then you have a good chance of scoring big points in at least one of the later races, but in practice we looked likely to be about eighth, so in the tricky conditions in qualifying, we probably did a little bit better than we were expecting. Sunday will be a big fight in all three races because I start eighth, sixth and fifth and if it’s wet, as we’re expecting, we could have a repeat of the kind of action in Hungary.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Attila Tassi

Attila Tassi 9

“There are some positives to take from today, despite the position we’re in. If you compare the gap to pole position from Hungaroring and here, we’re closer and it’s a longer circuit, so that’s a significant improvement. I felt in the wet session that Q2 was possible, but we made a strategic decision not to change tyres at the end because a small delay would have left us out of time, but instead I finished my last lap maybe one minute earlier than some other drivers and didn’t benefit from the circuit being at its peak.
I hope it rains on Sunday because in the slippery conditions today and in the races in Hungary, I was fast and I know I can go forwards from my starting positions.”

KCMG
Tiago Monteiro

Tiago Monteiro 18

“We’re not a million miles off where we wanted to be, especially as we have the heaviest car here on compensation weight. The position doesn’t look too great, but in the first qualifying we just needed to make a few small adjustments to be in the ballpark. We did these for second qualifying, but it rained so you had to try and maximise your performance in the conditions. I went off on my first lap of the final run, but it probably wouldn’t have been my fastest lap, so I don’t think it cost me too much. I’m not sure what to expect from the races, but the target is definitely to score some points.”

KCMG
Dominik Greiner

Dominik Greiner

Team Manager

“We maximised what was possible with the car today, which is exactly what we needed to do. We knew that by carrying the maximum compensation weight that it would be tough to be inside the top 10, but not only did Esteban do a fantastic job for fifth place and a bonus point, but having Bebu on the front row on the reversed grid – and some way ahead of our main rivals at the moment – gives us a very good chance of continuing to hold the points lead on Sunday.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Dario d’Esposito

Dario d'Esposito

Team Principal

“It’s been a difficult day. We expected this because of the effect the compensation weight has on the car on a long lap like this one, but we’ve closed the gap to the fastest Hondas compared to where we were in Hungary and this is because of good, clever work from the team. In the wet qualifying the track was drying all the time and the last driver on-track was always going to have the best chance to progress to Q2. This wasn’t us and we have a big challenge for Sunday, but we are always stronger in the races and we’re aiming to make up positions and score points with both cars.”

KCMG
Mads Fischer

Mads Fischer

TCR Project Leader, JAS Motorsport

“Today’s been a mixed day with the weather, which has caused everyone to have to react very quickly to changing circumstances. The Münnich team have done a very good job again to qualify where they did. With the maximum compensation weight on all the Hondas, they maximised what was possible. KCMG are closer than they look because the time gaps are so small from car to car, but they’ll come back stronger in Sunday’s races, like they always do.”

JAS Motorsport
WTCR Race of Slovakia

Slovakia Ring, Slovakia

WTCR 2019, Round 3

Friday 10 May 2019, 16:48 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Total Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Nick Catsburg 88 NDL 5 BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai 2:09.639
2 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN 4 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai +2:09.746
3 Qing Hua Ma 55 CHN 3 Mulsanne Srl Alfa Romeo +2:10.114
4 Daniel Haglof 37 SWE 2 PWR Racing Cupra +2:10.335
5 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG 1 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:10.518
6 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA 0 Mulsanne Srl Alfa Romeo +2:10.870
7 Niels Langeveld 10 NDL 0 Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi +2:10.943
8 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA 0 Comtoyou DHL Team Cupra Racing Audi +2:10.976
9 Nestor Girolami 29 ARG 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:11.352
10 Rob Huff 12 GBR 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen +2:11.572
11 Thed Björk 11 SWE 0 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +2:12.024
12 Benjamin Leuchter 33 GER 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Volkswagen +2:12.215
13 Mikel Azcona 96 SPA 0 PWR Racing Cupra +2:13.173
14 Luca Engstler 6 GER 0 Team Engstler Hyundai +2:13.250
15 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL 0 Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi +2:13.354
16 Gabriele Tarquini 1 ITA 0 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai +2:13.430
17 Augusto Farfus 8 BRA 0 BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai +2:13.545
18 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen +2:13.552
19 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA 0 Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi +2:13.553
20 Yvan Muller 100 FRA 0 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +2:13.649
21 Attila Tassi 9 HUN 0 KCMG Honda +2:13.683
22 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR 0 Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi +2:13.855
23 Andy Priaulx 111 GBR 0 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +2:13.911
24 Tiago Monteiro 18 POR 0 KCMG Honda +2:14.013
25 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA 0 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +2:14.177
26 Johan Kristoffersson 14 SWE 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Volkswagen +2:15.305
27 Tom Coronel 50 NDL 0 Comtoyou DHL Team Cupra Racing Cupra +2:20.206
Friday 10 May 2019, 13:24 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Total Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Nick Catsburg 88 NDL 5 BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai 2:09.498
2 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN 4 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai 2:09.526
3 Qing Hua Ma 55 CHN 3 Mulsanne Srl Alfa Romeo 2:09.907
4 Daniel Haglof 37 SWE 2 PWR Racing Cupra 2:10.108
5 Tom Coronel 50 NDL 1 Comtoyou DHL Team Cupra Racing Cupra 2:10.154
6 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA 0 Mulsanne Srl Alfa Romeo 2:10.339
7 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA 0 Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi 2:10.374
8 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda 2:10.382
9 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL 0 Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi 2:10.403
10 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 2:10.430
11 Nestor Girolami 29 ARG 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda 2:10.495
12 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA 0 Comtoyou DHL Team Cupra Racing Audi 2:10.511
13 Gabriele Tarquini 1 ITA 0 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai 2:10.517
14 Mikel Azcona 96 SPA 0 PWR Racing Cupra 2:10.544
15 Benjamin Leuchter 33 GER 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Volkswagen 2:10.687
16 Niels Langeveld 10 NDL - Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi 2:10.746
17 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR - Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi 2:10.826
18 Yvan Muller 100 FRA - Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 2:10.944
19 Augusto Farfus 8 BRA - BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai 2:10.978
20 Luca Engstler 6 GER - Team Engstler Hyundai 2:11.005
21 Tiago Monteiro 18 POR - KCMG Honda 2:11.081
22 Johan Kristoffersson 14 SWE - Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Volkswagen 2:11.212
23 Attila Tassi 9 HUN - KCMG Honda 2:11.307
24 Rob Huff 12 GBR - Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 2:11.345
25 Thed Björk 11 SWE - Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 2:11.363
26 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA - Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 2:11.467
27 Andy Priaulx 111 GBR - Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 2:11.697