Honda Racing team Sweden boosted by season bests ahead of WTCC summer break

Jul 14, 2015

Honda Racing team Sweden boosted by season bests ahead of WTCC summer break

Vila Real, July 12, 2015

Honda Racing team Sweden boosted by season bests ahead of WTCC summer break

Honda Racing team Sweden enjoyed its strongest WTCC showing of the season so far as Néstor Girolami handed the squad its best qualifying and race results to date in Portugal this weekend.

In only his second world touring car event, Girolami continued to impress the WTCC establishment by going an eye-catching third quickest to lead the Honda charge in practice at the new-for-all Vila Real street circuit. The Argentinian then hauled himself and the team into Q2, the second segment of qualifying, but was eventually unable to record time in the top 12 grid-deciding session after clattering the barriers on his first lap. Still, 12th place marked the team’s best qualifying performance of the year.

After being forced to retire from the first of Sunday’s two races with technical issues, Girolami then bounced back sharply in Race 2, where he lapped within a tenth of the fastest Honda and finished in eighth place.

Portugal marked the WTCC’s final European round of the season. The field now faces a well-deserved two-month break ahead of a final autumn leg in Asia, with the championship next setting camp in Japan – on home soil for Honda – on September 11-13.

Néstor Girolami (driver)

”The circuit here in Vila Real is exceptional – very fast and flowing – and I settled in quite quickly. That was a top achievement getting us into Q2 for the first time, but then I made a mistake, swept a barrier, and had to start both races from 12th place. I retired from the first one with an electrical problem, but Race 2 proved the progress we’ve made, and we were on the same pace as the fastest Honda. Big, big thanks to the team for handing me this WTCC opportunity; it has been fantastic, and I hope to be back in the future.”

Nicklas Karlsson (team principal)

”This was just the injection we needed going into the summer break. We had a fabulous start to the weekend, and Néstor was massively impressive in practice. Unfortunately, we never got to see what he could have done in Q2, but that’s street racing sometimes. We have taken a true step forward, as indicated by season bests in both qualifying and race conditions, and this was the strongest pace we’ve had all year. That is, of course, inspiring, and after some hectic months, the guys now deserve some time off before we start recharging for Asia.”

RESULTS

WTCC Race of Portugal | Vila Real

Race 1

1: José María López (Argentina/Citroën), 13 laps
DNF: Néstor Girolami (Argentina/Honda)

Race 2
1: Ma Qing Hua (China/Citroën), 11 laps
8: Néstor Girolami (Argentina/Honda), +16.060s

 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
After 8/12 rounds

1: José María López (Argentina/Citroën), 322 p.
2: Yvan Muller (France/Citroën), 267 p.
3: Sébastien Loeb (France/Citroën), 230 p.
18: Néstor Girolami (Argentina/Honda), 5 p.
19: Rickard Rydell (Sweden/Honda), 4 p.

 

Moments before start on a packed grid in Vila Real, Portugal

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