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WTCR Q&A: Néstor Girolami and Esteban Guerrieri

WTCR Q&A: Néstor Girolami and Esteban Guerrieri

19.06.2019: Two drivers from Argentina, Esteban Guerrieri and Néstor Girolami, have been making waves in the 2019 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO. Both have won races, and both have taken their turn to lead the standings with Guerrieri currently


Two drivers from Argentina, Esteban Guerrieri and Néstor Girolami, have been making waves in the 2019 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO. Both have won races, and both have taken their turn to lead the standings with Guerrieri currently on top after 12 rounds and Girolami in third place.





As well as being countrymen, the pair are close friends and team-mates too, lining up for the Germany-based ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team, which has made an impressive start to the season with its brace of Honda Civic Type R TCRs, leading the entrants’ standings to boot.




Guerrieri triumphed on the Nordschleife last season to join an illustrious list of Argentine winners at the venue that’s led by the great Juan Manuel Fangio, while Girolami is back after a one-year absence. This is what they’ve had to say on the season so far and WTCR Race of Germany.






You start WTCR Race of Germany at the top of the standings. How good does that feel?


Esteban Guerrieri
: “Obviously, it’s where I wanted to be, but it’s not been easy and there were moments that were very delicate, very important, like qualifying in Slovakia when I went through Q1 on the last lap, at the last moment. In Zandvoort when I was P10 and NéstorP11, it was fortunate for me but unfortunate forNéstor and I was able to profit from the opportunity I had by winning. I have always tried to maximise the positive moments that can make a difference at the end of the season.”






What do you put the success down to?


Esteban Guerrieri:
“One of the important things was to start strong. I always say if you have a good start and you are the leader, the others have to work harder to catch you and that means a little more risk, a little bit more of everything. But having said this the important thing was the pre-season, which was very good for us. We spent some time getting to know each other as a group again, bringing in some new people, including Néstor, but then we made some smart decisions and we hit the first two races very hard where the compensation weight was not a factor.



We worked very hard on the way to approach the first races with the set-up, what to do during free practice and what to learn from free practice to transfer to qualifying. We used new sets of tyres in the pre-season and, as a driver, this gives you the extra confidence to find the last two or three tenths. The confidence that we could get was very useful to use in the right moments in the first few races.”





The level of you and Esteban as drivers has surely made a difference, right?


Néstor Girolami:
“It’s not only one thing. As Esteban said we were preparing this season so well so it’s not because we are in a good level as drivers, but we have a good team always supporting us. The Honda has a really good potential and during the pre-season we were improving our car quite a lot.



We are the only two Hondas in the top and this shows how the team works and how the engineers were doing such a good job in pre-season. The driver is important but if we don’t have the team supporting us it’s impossible to have these results.”





What impact has Néstor had since he joined the team?


Esteban Guerrieri:
“To be honest I visualised something last year with Néstorand myself in the same team and it’s exactly what’s happening now. For the vision to come true makes me very happy.He’s very detailed in everything, he’s a very hard worker, he deserved another opportunity and now he has it.



He’s also a great driver, he’s my friend but he can also put me at the next level. I always like the toughest challenges, I don’t like to hide behind anything, not only in motorsport, but in life.”





Given you only joined the team in March effectively, have the results surprised you?


Néstor Girolami:
“It’s really difficult to be in the top in my first season. Even if I did WTCC before, it’s a completely different car and to adapt myself is supposed to take some time. I expected to be on top but more later in the season. But I am happy to be on top in the beginning because this shows our potential but also my ability to adapt quickly to this car.



Having Esteban as a team-mate is really important because he has the knowledge of the car and the team and I can see his data. But we can push each other harder to put the level higher and this is a very important combination. Esteban wants to win, I want to win but we work together and the result at this moment is because we are pushing each other harder.”






The Nürburgring Nordschleife is next. You won Race 2 last year, happy to be back?


Esteban Guerrieri:
“It’s interesting because the worst moment I had last year was in the second qualifying when I went out in the first two runs and I had such a bad feeling, such a lack of confidence in my car and in myself. I was totally off the pace – I couldn’t connect with the car. The day before I did a great qualifying, I was P4 after a great lap. That’s how the Nordschleife can surprise you and how much respect you need to show. It was one of the toughest moments last year when I went with my last set of tyres and I was P15 or whatever and I had no other chance.



I said to myself ‘just go and don’t think any more about the feeling right now, just go and see what happens’. If I crash, okay, hopefully God can protect me and it’s not too bad. I went out and I managed P8 which was very important because that gave me the opportunity to start the reverse grid in P3 and I won the race. For me that moment of forgetting about the feelings to try to challenge myself to be better, to turn something into a positive way, is very important for the Nordschleife.”






It’s been two years since your last Nordschleife experience. How have you prepared?



Néstor Girolami: “
I was there in 2017 and driving only one time is not enough. There are so many drivers who have been driving there many times. As a driver you want to do a very good job on the Nordschleife. I have been preparing this race really well on the simulator, with my engineers, trying to see data, to see onboard cameras. Even if I don’t have the real experience, we use a professional simulator with Esteban, Tiago [Monteiro] and [Attila] Tassi.



So, I think I can adapt myself quickly to this challenging track and to be on top. For me the first part of the season was the most traditional in terms of the tracks and we were there on three of them in pre-season testing. Now the WTCR starts, it starts to be hard and really challenging. You need to be really precise and really focused and after the Nürburgring we have Vila Real, which is also really difficult. I am happy to be in the top places, but we really need to perform well at the Nordschleife to keep this going. That’s why we have tried to prepare so well.”





 Richard Rodgers, photos WTCR

     

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/wtcr-nestor-girolami-esteban-guerrieri---192696.html

19.06.2019 / MaP

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