Girolami beats Azcona to the pole for Vallelunga Race 1
23 July 2022
Néstor Girolami put in a perfect lap in Vallelunga to take pole position for the first of tomorrow’s WTCR races. The Argentine drove his Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic to complete a lap of the 3.2km circuit in 1:14.811, outpacing the championship leader Mikel Azcona’s BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N by 0.241 seconds, while Azcona’s teammate Norbert Michelisz qualified third.
Azcona topped the list at the beginning of Q1with a lap of 1:15.494 that was soon beaten by Attila Tassi’s 1:15.366 and then by Girolami’s 1:15.266. In the second half of the twenty-minute segment, Azcona retook the lead with 1:15.248, but it was Esteban Guerrieri who emerged as the fastest posting a lap of 1:15.140. Tassi was the last one to improve, climbing to second with 1:15.210 and demoting Azcona and Girolami to third and fourth. Yann Ehrlacher was the last of those who made the cut for Q2 in 12th position, beating Yvan Muller by 80 thousandths.
In Q2 after provisional fastest laps set by Santiago Urrutia (1:15.567) and Mehdi Bennani (1:15.347), Guerrieri moved ahead with 1:15.158 and then Girolami completed the first stint with a best lap of 1:15.083. The second attempt saw only Michelisz improving his time, but not his fourth position and so Girolami, Guerrieri, Azcona, Michelisz and Nathanaël Berthon advanced to Q3, while Ehrlacher and Urrutia qualified tenth and ninth, securing the front row of the grid for Race 2.
Berthon was the first to hit the track in Q3, but after a great first sector he clocked a 1:15.341 that was not good enough, in fact Michelisz (1:15.280) and Azcona (1:15.052) demoted him to third. Guerrieri was next, but a series of small mistakes relegated him to the last place with a disappointing 1:15.518. Girolami was the last one and with an impressive second sector broke the 1:15. wall, claiming pole position for Race 1 with 1:14.811.
Race 1 is scheduled to get underway tomorrow at 11:15 local time (CEST).
Vallelunga – Qualifying
1:14.811 Néstor Girolami (Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R)
1:15.052 Mikel Azcona (BRC Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N)
1:15.280 Norbert Michelisz (BRC Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N)
1. M. Azcona 161 pts; 2. S. Urrutia 137; 3. Y. Ehrlacher 133
Picture: FIA WTCR/DPPI
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