Girolami returns for Honda Racing team Sweden as European WTCC leg concludes

Jul 9, 2015

Girolami returns for Honda Racing team Sweden as European WTCC leg concludes

Frankfurt, July 9, 2015

July, and the FIA World Touring Car Championship already sits on the eve of its final European race of the season. Going into this weekend’s WTCC Race of Portugal, reigning Argentine Súper TC2000 champion Néstor Girolami returns to driving duties for Honda Racing team Sweden as a new-for-2015 venue promises its fair share of drama.

Having scored a point on his attention-grabbing debut in Slovakia last month, Girolami is faced with a brand new set of challenges this time around in Portugal. Staging a WTCC round for the first time ever this weekend is a spectacular street circuit on the winding roads of Vila Real, described in some quarters as a mixture between China’s famous Macau city-centre track and the daunting Nürburgring Nordschleife. With unforgiving Armco barriers lining the lap, and a series of ultra-fast sweeps making up much of its layout, this is likely to represent one of the biggest driving tests of the season.

The WTCC Race of Portugal marks round eight out of twelve on the 2015 calendar. Following this weekend’s two races, the field will head into a two-month summer break, with the campaign then resuming in Asia in September for the final stint of the season.

For team quotes ahead of round eight of the 2015 WTCC campaign, please see next page.

FAST FACTS: WTCC RACE OF PORTUGAL

  • Portugal last played host to the WTCC in 2013, when another street circuit in the coastal city of Porto provided the backdrop for activities.
  • Tiago Monteiro, one of the drivers on Honda’s factory WTCC line-up, is a Portuguese native. Alongside six WTCC race wins, Monteiro’s CV also includes a Formula 1 podium finish at the 2005 US Grand Prix.
  • Vila Real might greet the WTCC fraternity for the very first time this weekend, but that doesn’t mean the venue lacks history. As a matter of fact, racing has been staged around the roads of the city on and off since 1931, although the WTCC’s arrival marks its first international event.
  • Vila Real is one out of two street circuits on the 2015 WTCC calendar, the other being Marrakech’s Circuit Moulay El Hassan which hosted the second round of the season back in April.

TEAM QUOTES
Néstor Girolami (driver)

”Vila Real is a new circuit for everyone, but I’ve checked it out on YouTube and I have to say it looks quite spectacular. It’s wide, it’s fast, and it will require a lot of concentration. Learning the track quickly will be key going into qualifying, and the only way of doing that is to rack up as many laps as possible in practice. Even the slightest mistake is likely to mean a visit to the wall this weekend, so it will be a real challenge.

“I have driven at some street circuits before – I won a night race in Santa Fe back home in Argentina last year, for example – but I’m still very new to the WTCC and I can’t expect too much at this stage. The fact the track is new to everyone is helping to equalise things a little, but I will continue to take things step by step and we’ll see where we end up.”

Nicklas Karlsson (team principal)

”I think Portugal is one of the most interesting events of the season. The track is new to everyone, and nobody really knows what to expect. Unfortunately, we had to sit out the races in Marrakech earlier this year, which means this will be the first time we run the car on a street circuit. However, we do believe we have quite a clear understanding of what the requirements are, and we’re all eager to find out how we fare. We completed a very good day of testing with Néstor in Guadix last Sunday, and we will be working as hard as ever to end the European leg of the season on a positive and take that with us into the summer break.”

 

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