Argentine racer Néstor Girolami will replace Robert Dahlgren at Polestar Cyan Racing for the World Touring Car Championship races in Japan, as he prepares to stake his claim to a full-time seat in 2017.
Girolami made his WTCC début with Nika International in the 2015 season, racing a Honda Civic in two events for the Swedish team.
The Argentine racer had impressed team bosses at Polestar Cyan Racing after he took part in a specially-arranged test at the Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo last month.
The deal will see Girolami partner regular driver Thed Björk in Japan, with the deal being for just the one meeting at present.
“It’s wonderful to be part of the WTCC again and I am very grateful to Polestar Cyan Racing for this opportunity to race in Japan when I will give all my best to have a great weekend,” said the 27-year-old.
“I feel very well in this world of World Touring Cars. It’s my objective to be part of the WTCC next year and I will fight for it.
“I shared the Argentina race weekend with the team and I learned a lot about the car before the test. I felt very comfortable during the test, the team worked hard to improve the performance and develop the car.
“The test was very, very good for me and a good opportunity to show what I can do. I did 30 laps and the conclusions were very good. I felt a great potential in the Volvo S60.
“My goal for Japan is to take this one step further and, above all, demonstrate that I have the speed, engineering skills and race craft to become a part of the team in the future.”
The Argentine racer is a former close rival of WTCC champion José María López, having narrowly lost the 2013 Súper TC2000 title to his compatriot.
He has been racing in the Stock Car Brasil series in the 2016 season after failing to reach a deal to compete full-time in the WTCC.
Polestar’s Head of Motorsport, Alexander Murdzevski-Schedvin, explained that the deal was also agreed as it allows Dahlgren to focus on his commitments in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, where he is in contention for the title, with the Race of Japan clashing with the penultimate STCC event of the year.
“We have chosen to let Robert focus his efforts on the STCC as he is in a competitive position for the title,” said Murdzevski-Schedvin. “At the same time [we will] utilise the unique opportunity to test Néstor during a race weekend, something that will be different next year when our championship title challenge phase begins.”
Head of Eurosport Events, François Riberio, is delighted to see another top touring car driver from Argentina get another WTCC outing.
“Argentina has so many talented touring car drivers to offer,” said Ribeiro, who has openly desired a replacement for the star attraction of López. “Néstor ran José María López so close in the Súper TC2000 championship in 2013 before going on to clinch the title in 2014 and 2015.
“He now has the perfect shop window to deliver on his potential for Polestar Cyan Racing.”