Néstor Girolami hailed his Pau pole position as ‘one of the best of my career’ after the Münnich Motorsport driver pipped team-mate Esteban Guerrieri to pole for the first FIA World Touring Car Cup race on Sunday.
Prior to Q3, it had in fact been Guerrieri who was the fastest of the two Argentines, as he had put his Honda on top of the times in Q2 as the only driver to break below the 1 minute 20 seconds mark, although Girolami had been third, ahead of Guerrieri, in both of the day’s earlier practice sessions.
Girolami had been three tenths slower than his compatriot in Q2, but going after his team-mate in Q3 he produced a lap which was the fastest all day, claiming pole position by 0.154 seconds.
“I think this is one of the best pole positions of my career,” said Girolami, who now has four WTCR poles to his name. “It’s not an easy track to drive at all, so it’s similar to taking a pole at a place like the Nordschleife – being fastest at these kinds of tracks makes you so proud.
“I’m really happy for the team, especially because they’ve given me an amazing car right from FP1 – we were always in the top three.
“In Q2, Esteban did a very good lap time that gave me a reference for where I had to go with the car, and I pushed a little bit more and this is the result.
“A 1-2 looks very strong for tomorrow, but we need to get the job done.”
Guerrieri built his form throughout the day, going from over a second off the pace in first practice, to just under seven tenths down in second practice, before producing the goods in qualifying.
“This is a great beginning to the year,” said Guerrieri. “We had a very progressive day, starting off a bit more anonymously and ending on a high, in great form.
“We extracted the maximum from the Honda Civic Type R TCR, which worked brilliantly; it’s in these circumstances that you really enjoy yourself in the car, when you can go and push for the final tenth of a second to extract the most from a lap.
“The team performed brilliantly so thank you to everyone at ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport. I just want to share this great moment with them.”
Race one gets underway at 13:10 CEST (12:10 BST) on Sunday.