Néstor Girolami closed the FIA World Touring Car Cup points gap to overall leader Yann Ehrlacher by topping the twilight qualifying action ahead of this weekend’s pair of races at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Girolami slashed Ehrlacher’s advantage to just five points in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR after a final lap charge that pushed the Argentine to the top of the times and put him on pole position for Race 2. His time of 8:51.802, a new WTCR qualifying lap record, over the 25.378-kilometre tour was 1.163 seconds faster than Ehrlacher’s best, after the Frenchman missed out on a final attempt by failing to pass the start line before the chequered flag waved.
“That was one of the craziest things I have ever done in my life,” said Girolami after his stunning final lap in the fading sunshine. “The target was to score some points, but I felt so confident in the car I had to go for it and take some risks. The guys in the team deserve it. It was really getting dark and some parts of the circuit were difficult to see, missing the apex on some of the corners.”
Ehrlacher’s first lap in his Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR was still good enough to be second fastest, in a session that was affected by the extended recovery time for Jack Young’s Vuković Motorsport Renault Mégane RS TCR, which was stuck in the gravel at the hairpin on the Grand Prix circuit loop after the Northern Irish teenager suffered a puncture.
Attila Tassi, who had topped both free practice sessions, was third fastest in his ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda, ahead of Thed Björk’s Lynk & Co and WTCR Trophy contender Tom Coronel in his Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS. Mikel Azcona managed an impressive sixth fastest time in Zengő Motorsport’s new CUPRA Leon Competición, although the Hungarian was one of several drivers who will serve grid penalties for speeding through a ‘Code 60’ yellow flag zone.
Santiago Urrutia recovered from his crash in the second free practice session to reward his Cyan Performance team with the seventh-fastest time, however, he was subsequently stripped of his qualifying times for failing to stop at the weighbridge as instructed.
Behind the Uruguyan came Esteban Guerrieri’s ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda and Jean-Karl Vernay’s Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris.
Nathanaël Berthon was P10 in his Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport entry, which should have landed the Frenchman pole position in the reversed-grid opening race on Friday. Berthon also copped a grid penalty for speeding through a ‘Code 60’, promoting Yvan Muller to the spot in his Lynk & Co.
Race 1 of WTCR Race of Germany takes place on Friday at 16:40 local time.
|2020 FIA WTCR Race of Germany – Qualifying Results|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||Néstor Girolami||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||8:51.802|
|2.||Yann Ehrlacher||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||8:52.965|
|3.||Attila Tassi||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||8:54.091|
|4.||Thed Björk||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||8:54.870|
|5.||Tom Coronel||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||8:55.087|
|6.||Mikel Azcona||Zengő Motorsport Services KFT||8:55.241|
|7.||Esteban Guerrieri||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||8:55.590|
|8.||Jean-Karl Vernay||Team Mulsanne||8:56.264|
|9.||Nathanaël Berthon||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||8:56.377|
|10.||Yvan Muller||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||8:56.981|
|11.||Gilles Magnus||Comtoyou Racing||8:58.999|
|12.||Tiago Monteiro||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||9:02.573|
|13.||Jack Young||Vuković Motorsport||9:05.523|
|Did Not Qualify||Team / Entry||Time|
|DNQ.||Gábor Kismarty-Lechner||Zengő Motorsport Services KFT||10:40.456|
|DNQ.||Bence Boldizs||Zengő Motorsport Services KFT||no time|
|EX.||Santiago Urrutia||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||excluded|
- The fastest five qualifiers and their respective teams are awarded championship points on a 5-4-3-2-1 sliding scale.
- Mikel Azcona was issued a five-place grid penalty for Race 1 for a pit lane violation during Free Practice 2. He was subsequently issued a further five-place grid penalty for not respecting the speed limit under ‘Code 60’ conditions during qualifying.
- Jean-Karl Vernay will start Race 1 from the back of the grid after Team Mulsanne requested authorisation to change his car’s engine. He was subsequently issued a six-place grid penalty for not respecting the speed limit under ‘Code 60’ conditions during qualifying.
- Gábor Kismarty-Lechner will start Race 1 from the back of the grid after Zengő Motorsport requested authorisation to change his car’s engine.
- Nathanaël Berthon was issued a 7-place grid penalty for Race 1 for not respecting the speed limit under ‘Code 60’ conditions during qualifying.
- Santiago Urrutia’s qualifying times were cancelled for failing to stop at the weighbridge as instructed during qualifying.
Images and text via FIA WTCR Media
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