WTCR Race of Bahrain pre-event press conference 1

WTCR Race of Bahrain pre-event press conference 1

10.11.2022: WTCR Race of Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit, November 10-12, 2022 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, Rounds 15 and 16 of 18 Thursday, November 10th 2022 In attendance: Part 1: Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse) Franc


WTCR Race of Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit,
November 10-12, 2022
WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, Rounds 15 and 16 of 18
Thursday, November 10th 2022



In attendance:

Part 1:

Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse)
Franco Girolami (Comtoyou Racing)
Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport)






Mikel, day one of a very important weekend. Mathematically you could hold the crown at the end of the weekend. What are your thoughts coming into this weekend, how different was your preparation?




Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse)


I have to say it is always very good when you are leading the championship and even better when you have 35 points to Bebu [Néstor Girolami]. It is the first time I have had this experience, fighting for the world title, so it’s a very good situation honestly. During the summer I was working on preparing myself so hard for the last two rounds. Actually straight away when we finished in France I was looking forward to the last two weekends.


It will not be easy, we all know how tough is the competition and this is a new track for everybody. It is true that we have prepared a lot and I have a good feeling in myself because the preparation I have made, I have never had something like this in the past. I will do my best, but at the same time all the teams and drivers are pushing very strong and very hard. It will not be easy, but I believe in my team. They have good tools and things to give me. I will do my best all the time and we will see.





You were P3 in the first practice session. What did you learn?


Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse)


Especially the track, it’s a new track for everybody. Track conditions were so different from what we are used to drive during the season. It was very slippery, the Tarmac is different so we have to adjust the car in a different way because we couldn’t find any grip. It’s about understanding how to improve the track as well. We are looking forward to free practice two because I am expecting the track to improve from free practice one.

We are trying to improve the cars, the driving and put everything together on the table. We have three drivers on the team which I think is very useful and it is a small advantage compared to the rest of the season. So we can have more comments, more experience, more set-up differences. I think it is very useful for us, we will put everything together in Free Practice 2.





You speak about the differences between the practices. Race 1 and Race 2 will be in completely different scenarios, not only to practice but too each other, one being in the night and one being almost at peak heat.



Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse)


That will be key as well because in the night the temperatures will be lower, but not so much I am expecting. But it’s true in the morning it will be super-tough with the high temperature and the degradation. We have already seen some information that it is very high.


That will be very important and the morning race I will be completely the opposite because driving in the night without the sun it will be a little bit less. The final race of the weekend will be tough for the team to prepare and for the driver as well to drive the car and try to have good degradation. To finish with the front tyre in good condition will not be easy, but I have good feelings.





This weekend marks the FIA Volunteers and Officials Weekend. We couldn’t race without them, could we?


Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse)


For sure, it is very important and I really appreciate the job they do because starting from the marshals at every post they are here from very early in the morning to very late in the night. It’s a job that normally the people in the paddock we don’t see because they are working on the posts. Without them we would not be driving today or this weekend. I appreciate a lot, this job.





Néstor, you are 35 points behind. I assume your gloves are very much off…



Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport)



To be honest, 35 points is a big gap. But anything can happen. We know in motorsport nothing is done until the chequered flag, so I will do my maximum and try this weekend to learn how to handle 40 kilos because we are carrying the maximum weight compensation. So it’s not going to be easy. Let’s see how it goes in qualifying. In FP1 I was happy so far with the pace.

As I’ve said in every press conference and interview everything can happen and I will not give up until the last corner of the last lap. We will see. The car is good, the team was working very hard during the summer to try to try to get everything out of the car, to get the best package possible, so let’s see how it goes in qualifying.






This is not new territory for the team.


Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport)

No, looking back at the past we had 2019 in Sepang with the wet conditions. Unfortunately that is not going to happen, it looks like the weather is quite flat and sunny. But with the tyre deg it is going to be interesting. I am proud I have been able to score points in every race this season.

It’s been a great season for the team and for me and I hope we can cut this gap for Jeddah and arrive there with the best package possible and with the best possibility.





You two always want to be doing rain dances, so of all the places we could possible go to it’s very unlikely to work…


Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport)


To be honest in WTCC when we visited Qatar the last three seasons we had rain and when I look at the weather today as I entered the pits it was 30 per cent probability, very low. Anything can happen. When I look at having one race in the night that is different, we have never experienced those kind of races. So I expect we will have a good weekend, try to score points and reduce that gap.





And you have your brother alongside you. How did that come about?


Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport)


It’s amazing to be sharing the track with my brother. He really deserves it after becoming European champion in TCR. We were fighting a lot with Franco in Argentina in Súper TC2000 and now to have the possibility to race in a world championship is super-nice.

For him there is going to be so much to learn over the weekend: tyres, the car is the same but quite different and I imagine some things will be difficult for him this weekend. But I wish him all the best and he will do his best for himself.






Sharing the track, but not sharing data or information, right?



Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport)


We are professional and anything that happens inside the team is inside the team.






Franco, welcome to WTCR.



Franco Girolami (Comtoyou Racing)


Thank you, hello everyone. First of all I want to congratulate Bebu and Mikel for this season. They deserve to be here, fighting for the championship. I wish the best for all of you. For myself I am so, so happy. This is like a dream come true.

I have worked a lot to be here. I arrived in Europe 19 months ago and from that moment this was my goal, my target. So to be here is like a dream. Now I must do my best. As Bebu said it will be a bit difficult with the new circuit and tyres, but in the end I am enjoying it and I will try to do my best.



You are in good hands at Comtoyou, right?



Franco Girolami (Comtoyou Racing)

Yeah, for sure. Comtoyou is an amazing team. From the first moment they have given me as much as possible, they push a lot to put me here in WTCR so I only have to say thank you, to Audi Sport and for sure Viktor Davidovski because he push for me always.





What did you learn from FP1?



Franco Girolami (Comtoyou Racing)


A lot in the track for sure, a lot on the tyres. They are totally different to the TCR Europe tyres, so these are the two most difficult things for me. But okay, it was good from my side. We have to improve, we have improve the car but I have a very good reference from my team-mates so I will take everything to do my best.





We will see you in Jeddah as well, won’t we?



Franco Girolami (Comtoyou Racing)



Yeah, we will be in Jeddah as well. It’s going to be amazing for us. It will be a shorter track and a new track. When you go to a new track it’s the same for all the drivers, so it will be amazing. The temperature and the weather is going to be similar to here, so we’ll see.




Richard Rodgers, photos WTCR

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/wtcr-race-bahrain-pre-event-press-conference1---245020.html

10.11.2022 / MaP

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