Honda are used to being involved in the FIA World Touring Car Cup title fight at the end of the season, however they have yet to ever emerge as the victors. If that trend is to be altered tomorrow, then the ALL-INKL.com Munnich Motorsport team have an awful lot of work to do.
Ahead of Sunday’s races, Esteban Guerrieri is the marque’s sole driver still with a shot of title glory, lying third in the overall standings 38 points behind series leader Yann Ehrlacher.
A stellar qualifying result was needed from the Argentine in order to keep his title hopes realistically alive. Unfortunately for him though, sixth place puts him firmly in the midfield, making it a tall order to make significant inroads into that points deficit.
Instead, it was Guerrieri’s compatriot and team-mate Nestor Girolami who shone the brightest during qualifying at Sochi Autodrom, eventually going on to qualify third.
Aside from the racing though, there is something else on everyone’s minds within the WTCR paddock. A familiar face behind the scenes at Eurosport, Marcela Bertolisi sadly lost her battle against cancer in recent weeks, and as such a tribute to her is being carried on each of the cars at this event. Following the on-track action, Girolami made sure to pay his respects.
“First of all I would like to send all positive thoughts and energy to Marcela Bertolisi who was working for Eurosport Events,” he said. “She died two weeks ago. She was always smiling and I will remember her always like that. So all my positive thoughts to her family.”
As for his performance behind the wheel, Girolami was glad to have made the best out of a difficult situation.
“Regarding the day, it was quite complicated for us,” he explained. “We knew in this situation with this long straight our performance wouldn’t be so good, so in free practice one we were far away, then in free practice two with damp conditions we started to pick up the pace and started to fight for the top 10.
“Q1 was not easy for me, I just about progressed into Q2 in P12. To be honest the track changed a lot from FP2 to qualifying, so we were doing some changes from Q1 to Q2 and this made the car much better and I understood how to drive faster.
“The main target was to get to Q3 and be in front of Esteban’s rivals who are [Frederic] Vervisch and Ehrlacher. So tomorrow we have a very good starting position to at least fight for both titles.
“I think in the teams’ title we are far away, but Esteban is still fighting for the drivers’ championship, so full focus on tomorrow. I will do my best, trying to help him as much as possible.”