After an enthralling WTCR qualifying session at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, it was Honda’s Néstor Girolami who came out on top, thus securing pole position for Saturday’s feature race and ten championship points to add to his tally.
After the session the Argentine was in a jubilant mood, and was quick to thank his engineers at ALL-INKL.com Münnich Motorsport for the work they had put into preparing his car.
“I want to congratulate all my team-mates because they did a fantastic job,” Girolami said. “They [Münnich Motorsport] gave me a fantastic car, because we started in FP1 and FP2 with mixed conditions, so we were not sure what was going to happen in qualifying.
“We were guessing a little bit, and as Esteban [Guerrieri] said, it was not perfect. The car balance was a little bit understeer, so we worked with my engineer and he decided the right choice to go for the second attempt and I think I improved by seven tenths – which sounds a lot, but in this circuit it’s not a lot!”
With two pole positions on the bounce here at the Nürburgring, Girolami is beginning to cast himself as a bit of a Nordschleife specialist. However, even given his strong form, the unpredictability of the ‘Green Hell’ means that Girolami still isn’t quite sure how things will go for him on race day.
“To be honest, I don’t know what’s happening here at the Nordschleife,” he said. “Because every time when we come here it’s sunny, but then in the race weekend it starts to become unclear.
“It happened in the VLN when one race was cancelled because of snow, and now all the week was sunny and really nice, and now getting close to the race weekend [it’s not].
“So tomorrow it will be more [unpredictable] than that, so we have to be prepared for everything, especially the team. We as drivers know our situation as we’ve had the possibility to test a lot, so I hope we take the right decision in the right moment and take a lot of points and have a really good race for Honda.
“You always want to win here, everyone wants to win, but at the Nordschleife you never know what is going to happen. So even if today I was the fastest, then tomorrow we will not see the pace of the car until tomorrow’s race.
“It’s important to have a good balance in the car but also a good speed because we have a long straight, the Döttinger Höhe, which is more than two kilometres [long]. So it’s very important to have a good car to make a gap before the long straight, and then in the reverse grid to try and score points as much as we can.”
As the pandemic restrictions begin to lift, success like like this has become more enjoyable for Girolami, who can now share the good times with his family in person.
However, although he was delighted to have his wife and daughter at the track with him, it perhaps made him more aware of the heartache that the Reutemann family will be going through at this time.
Argentinean motorsport legend Carlos Reutemann has recently been re-admitted to intensive care, so Girolami took the moment to express his best wishes and support for a compatriot that he would have looked up to as a child.
“My wife is here with me and my little daughter, and having them here is very nice,” Girolami beamed. “So I want to dedicate this of course to them, but especially in this moment to ‘Lole’ Reutemann.
“He is a Nurburgring winner in 1976, and he is in a critical situation at the moment, but I send positive energies to him and to his family because we know he was a special legend in Argentina, so all my positivity to him.”