WTCR Race of Alsace GrandEst post-Qualifying press conference transcript

WTCR Race of Alsace GrandEst post-Qualifying press conference transcript

06.08.2022: WTCR Race of Alsace GrandEst, Circuit l’Anneau du Rhin, August 5-7, 2022 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, Rounds 13 and 14 of 20 Press Conference Room, Circuit l’Anneau du Rhin, August 5-7 In attendance: Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.

WTCR Race of Alsace GrandEst, Circuit l’Anneau du Rhin, August 5-7, 2022
WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, Rounds 13 and 14 of 20
Press Conference Room, Circuit l’Anneau du Rhin, August 5-7





In attendance:


Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport), pole position, Race 1

Nathanaël Berthon (Team Name), Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, second position, Race 1

Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse), third position, Race 1





What an insane lap Bebu. Take us through that lap please.


Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport), pole position, Race 1




First of all congratulations to the whole team. They’re the main factor why I’m here today. The car was incredibly good all weekend. Here we were testing two days and spending a lot of time on new tyres. Also on Thursday and Friday, so the great job that the team did produced resulted in this.


Regarding the lap, Sector One was our weak sector so I knew I had to do a clean Sector One and then push really hard in sector two. It was really a perfect lap. When you see how close I was to the tyre pack in the last sector, I thought I was going to hit it with my mirror, but I told myself I had to take the risk because it’s now or never.



 The points all count and we had 36 points − now 34 points − to Mikel [Azcona] and we have to reduce the gaps. There are two rounds left after this weekend and even if we get the 40kg [the maximum compensation weight] again, points are points and we do our maximum.






What are your impressions of the track? Does it suit your car?


Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport), pole position, Race 1




This year it has been really nice to drive in the Nordscheife, Vallelunga and here at Anneau du Rhin is just amazing. Going on the limit on these kinds of tracks requires 100 per cent commitment. You simply cannot make mistakes. You have to set the car up for really fast corners and also for small corners.


It’s tricky because if you set up to be safe in the fast corners, you don’t have the speed through the twisty sector, so it becomes a compromise, but I really like the track and I think the spectators tomorrow will have a great battle to watch.




How do you feel about the races tomorrow?


Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport), pole position, Race 1



Really good. So far we made very good starts this season. We’ve had good performance in the first two laps and if we can run in clean air it’s easier. But these guys are going really fast on the straights so we have to be sure to do a very good last sector to get the pace and space to stay ahead in the race and try to survive.



Since we are fighting for the title and I’m sure we’ll all do a clean job and fight with respect.






It was very close today Nathanaël. What was lacking?



Nathanaël Berthon (Team Name), Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, second position, Race 1



It was close. First of all congratulations to Bebu. What a lap! I was really happy with my lap; not much room to improve. We worked very hard, I put everything together and it was my best lap of the weekend. It’s a bit frustrating because I really wanted pole here.



When you are in Q3 giving everything, it’s in France… I don’t know how many second places I have now, but I really wanted pole at least once. But congratulations to my team, my engineer and my mechanics because the car was great.






Second place on a track where passing is hard is great. Anything can happen tomorrow, right?



Nathanaël Berthon (Team Name), Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, second position, Race 1



Yeah. I said to Bebu already ‘don’t forget we’re good in the first sector and I’ll try everything to win at home’. They [Honda] are really good in the races. They make good starts... But we’re all intelligent and we don’t want to create a mess, but I’ll try everything I can in a fair way to win the race.







You said the Audi would not be suited to here, but you proved us wrong. What changes did you make?


Nathanaël Berthon (Team Name), Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, second position, Race 1


This is the result of really great teamwork. We are four drivers working together, sharing our information. We did a lot of testing and we’re starting to understand the car much better. Audi Sport and Comtoyou are putting in a lot of effort and it’s coming together.


It’s a combination of everything. It’s not our racetrack, but remember we don’t have the 40kg [compensation weight] in the car. The Hondas do. The track is a Honda track, even with the long straight, but I think we’re lucky to be on 0kg.






Is it pressure or excitement to race in front of your home fans?


Nathanaël Berthon (Team Name), Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, second position, Race 1


It’s always pressure, no matter where you are. When you have your helmet on it’s the same. Starting from the front row is always cool. You have nobody in front and you need to make a good start. I’ve been improving my starts. Also we need points for the championship. We had some bad luck earlier in the year with some mechanical issues.







Mikel, talk us through your lap.



Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse), third position, Race 1



First of all congrats to Bebu and Nat for impressive laps. We’re talking about thousands [of a second] over a 1m30s lap, so it’s very close. The first sector of my lap was taken a little bit carefully. You can’t make any mistake in Turn One because it’s high speed and at this point the rear was very loose. From Sector Two I pushed a lot because I knew the car was very strong.


Turn Eight was similar because again it’s a very tricky corner and you can lose the rear. It got quite tight on the chicane. It was very good and I’m happy because the car was great.



Thanks to the team because yesterday to today we made an improvement that gave me more confidence to allow me to go more to the limit. I’m very happy with that and happy to be here in third place.





What were the improvements you made?



Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse), third position, Race 1


This track is very challenging. You have high-speed corners and slow corners so you need to find that compromise. If you have a car that’s stable in the high-speed corners then you’ll lose half a second in Sector Two like we did yesterday.


So we tried to modify the car to give us more confidence in Sector Two to have better grip overall. But then you’re compromised in the faster corners like Turn One and Turn Eight. So it’s a kind of compromise, but I was very pleased with the speed.





What is your state of mind before the race tomorrow?



Mikel Azcona (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse), third position, Race 1


It won’t be easy. We are around the Audis, which are very quick on the straight. That’s the only chance to go for an overtake apart from Sector Two. It will not be easy with Gilles behind me, trying to defend myself.


Our top speed is not as good as the Audis, but we’ll do our best from our side and try to defend the title because we’re here to defend and minimise the points [lost].






Richard Rodgers,photos WTCR
    

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06.08.2022 / MaP

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