24 Jul 2022 ID: 408067
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Vallelunga victory for Civic Type R TCR racer Girolami

Vallelunga victory for Civic Type R TCR racer Girolami

The Argentinian was tasked with withstanding race-long pressure, managing his tyres, and negotiating a Safety Car period in Race One, and passed all tests with aplomb as he converted pole position into a victory.

Though performance was harder to come by in a hotter, more demanding Race Two, ‘Bebu’ followed his victory up with a fifth-place finish.

His efforts mean he is now second in the Drivers’ Championship, 36 points from the lead, with ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport also up to second in the Teams’ standings.

Esteban Guerrieri played the ultimate support role in Race Two, having run ahead of his team-mate in fifth.

From the back of the pack, Esteban charged up the order and was first asked to attack the cars ahead, which included the points leader, then to drop back behind Nestor - which also meant he could protect the lead Civic Type R TCR from those behind.

Sixth place should have been his reward, but he required a visit to the pits at the end of the penultimate lap for a tyre change and dropped to 10th.

Esteban had earlier finished seventh in Race One - which marked his 100th start in the WTCR - despite suffering an engine failure on the final lap, having gradually lost water after a stone kicked up by a rival damaged his radiator.

Attila Tassi and Tiago Monteiro recorded points finishes in each race despite encountering tyre problems on both occasions.

The efforts of LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler were such in Race One that Attila, who needed a pitstop to change tyres, was able to recover to fifth as he put together another weekend that demonstrated the team’s potential with the Civic Type R TCR.

He had made an excellent overtake on the first lap of Race Two to run second, and thereafter applied pressure to the race leader, but dropped out of the fight when he was forced to pit to have a tyre changed. That meant he was eighth at the finish.

Tiago, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, had been a nailed on top-10 runner a day earlier until qualifying, and despite starting down the order showed his potential in both races.

He ran eighth, in the same pack as Esteban and Nestor, in Race Two but pitted with five laps to go and was limited to 11th.

That was a repeat of his result in Race One, in which he was forced to pit after eight laps.

Néstor Girolami 29
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
 
I knew that starting on pole wouldn’t be much of an advantage because there is less grip on the inside. Off the line, I managed to keep my front bumper alongside the other car and then the first proper corner was to the right and I could keep the lead, which was the crucial part of the race. After that it was about managing things, but the safety car gave me the chance to cool the tyres and everything was OK after that. Trying to survive was the main focus for Race Two, because the pace wasn’t there to fight and I didn’t want to push too hard in case of problems. I just tried to drive as smoothly and gently as possible to see the chequered flag.
Esteban Guerrieri 86
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
 
There wasn’t all that much luck on my side this weekend. A cracked turbo pipe in Q3 meant we only started fifth in Race One, and then a stone from another car put a hole in my radiator, which meant I started to lose water and eventually the engine let go. That meant we started from the back in Race Two, where the strategy was to attack. The car felt really good and I tried to have a go at some of those ahead, but they had too much straightline speed so it was hard to do anything and in the end we swapped with Nestor. After that I was trying to save the tyres but near the end I got a puncture, which was unexpected because we hadn’t had any until then.
Attila Tassi 9
LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
 
I tried to take care of the tyres in Race One because we experienced some delaminations on Saturday. We knew it would be hard to survive, and unfortunately we did not. Even so, the team did an amazing job to make such a fast change and we leapfrogged some of the other cars who had problems, which meant we were best of those who experienced issues. In Race Two I made an overtake that I was really happy with to move up to second. I took so much care - I stayed off the kerbs and didn’t accelerate as I had before - but again the tyre delaminated, despite also changing the set-up to be as safe as possible. I really wanted to give the team a podium again, but I can be happy knowing I did my best.
Tiago Monteiro 18
LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
 
It was another frustrating day to end a frustrating weekend. It was similar to the Nordschleife weekend in a way with the tyres issues we had, but we decided to continue and race - to at least understand and find a cure for the problems. The supplier is trying hard to find a solution and we want to help them, but it’s nevertheless frustrating to have issues in both races when you put so much effort in. Points have been lost and wasted. I don’t think we’ll see the same issues at the remaining races because of the way the tracks are, but we need to stick together and work on a solution for the future. Hopefully at Anneau du Rhin, things start to go our way a little bit more, because so far it’s been a tough season.

 

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Jack Cozens
Jack Cozens
Honda Motor Europe