Nestor Girolami took an almost lights-to-flag victory in the opening FIA World Touring Car Cup race of the day. However, a difficult track surface at Autodrom Most ensured that it was far from an easy race to win.
As was predicted given its tight nature, the field didn’t manage to get through the turn one chicane without serious contact. Girolami was fortunate enough to emerge from the early incident unscathed though, and from then on it would be a case of protecting the lead.
“It wasn’t [very easy],” he said. “I was very worried at the start because T1 is really tight and I knew that somebody can overshoot easily from the inside line because it’s very dirty.
“I think the important thing is that we were working very well in terms of how much grip was available from the start, because it was completely different as before, and also in the start area where we take practice. So, the engineers did an analysis and it worked so thanks for them.
“And then in the race we tried to keep conserving the tyres because I got informed that Attila [Tassi] got a puncture, and that was at the middle of the race with still five, six laps ahead. So I tried to not complicate Esteban [Guerrieri] with the dirty air, so I made a gap every time that the engineers asked me and at the end I think we managed [the race] very well.”
Having taken victory, Girolami was keen to congratulate the ALL-INKL.com Munnich Motorsport team and all of their engineers. With a heavily ballast-laden quartet of Hondas, the team have had an uphill challenge over the course of the majority of the season. Therefore, the 1-2 result that they have scored in race one today will certainly raise some spirits in the garage.
Race two gets underway later on at 17:10 local time (16:10 BST). Esteban Guerrieri will be the best-placed Honda driver on the grid in fourth position, while Girolami will be looking to make progress from ninth.