Münnich Motorsport’s Néstor Girolami admits that he didn’t expect to make it through to Q3 in qualifying for the FIA World Touring Car Cup at the Hungaroring, as his Honda is the heaviest car in the field.
Girolami and his team-mates are carrying the most compensation weight this weekend, with 60 kg on board, which combined with their Balance of Performance weight of 20 kg makes the Civic the heaviest car in the field.
Despite that, the Argentine was the fastest of all in first practice on Saturday, whilst also putting in a top ten time in second practice.
In qualifying, Girolami continued his pace as the best of the Honda drivers, ending Q1 in fifth, before improving to fourth in Q2.
On his single Q3 lap, Girolami couldn’t match the pace of his lighter rivals and secured fourth on the grid for Sunday’s second race, just over half a second off the pace.
“I have to say a big thanks to the team, they did a brilliant job,” said Girolami, a two-time winner in WTCR at the Hungaroring. “From the beginning of the day I felt the car had a really good balance; we fine-tuned it for FP2 but I didn’t put the lap together, so I knew we had something else for qualifying.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect to be in Q3 at the start of the weekend because we knew that the 60 kg compensation weight was a lot to carry.
“The Q2 lap was key and allowed us to save two tyres for tomorrow; I want to say it was the plan but I can’t, but it was still a welcome outcome.
“I’m really happy with it, it was a brilliant lap and everything that I had.”
Münnich Motorsport Team Manager Dominik Greiner praised the performances of Girolami, who had been a cut above his team-mates for all of Saturday.
“Néstor’s result has probably exceeded our expectations slightly,” added Greiner. “Congratulations to him on a great performance throughout qualifying, and all the guys for the preparation of his car considering how comfortable he has been with it from the start of FP1.
“Although the rest of the results don’t quite match that, the efforts of the team to improve the set-up of the cars and to get them into this performance window, particularly with 60 kg of compensation weight and the effect this has, deserve praise.”