After a stunning lap to claim pole position in the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), Néstor Girolami has reaped the rewards of what he brands as a risky lap around the Nürburgring.
Yann Ehrlacher had been the pace-setter throughout the truncated qualifying session, but a last-gasp attempt from the Münnich Motorsport crew gave Girolami just the chance he needed.
With the sun setting over the circuit, Ehrlacher and the Cyan Racing crew decided to bail out of a final attempt at a lap time in case their efforts resulted in a red flag (which would have seen Ehrlacher’s best time deleted).
Of course, this meant that they would be left without reply if somebody was to eclipse the Frenchman’s benchmark.
By stark comparison, the Münnich Motorsport crew were waiting to pounce. Knowing that he had one final shot at pole position, Girolami left nothing on the table and consequently walked away from qualifying with a margin of 1.1 seconds over Ehrlacher in second place.
His efforts weren’t without risk, however, as Girolami explained. “I really enjoyed that lap. It was one of the craziest things I’ve done in my entire life,” the Argentine said.
“I would say driving the Nordschleife without any lights, and it’s almost night, is really demanding. Somehow, I managed to do my best lap at the end, but if I had caused a red flag or some incident, they would have removed my best lap and I would have finished with a bad result.
“But I took the risk, it was controllable all the lap around and thanks to Esteban [Guerrieri] who gave me the tow at the end and allowed me to improve by one second.
“The pressure was there. If I wanted the pole, I had to take the risk and I knew I had something in the pocket from the first outing. The first lap was quite an improvement, so on the second lap I took risks and it paid off.
“Tomorrow we have the reverse grid, so we will start P10 [P7 after penalties]. Even with space between race one and race two we don’t want to take a lot of risks, just score some points and finish the race with the car in one piece.
“The main race for us is on Saturday and is the race we want to finish high. The car is performing well so I am confident for both races.”