Honda Racing drivers Esteban Guerrieri and Nestor Girolami secured strong starting positions for the two WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup races at Most in qualifying on Friday evening.

Esteban took his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR to top spot in Q1, with Nestor also advancing with the fourth-best time.

The two sat either side of the top-five cut-off for a place in the Q3 shootout after their first Q2 runs, but as Esteban opted to go for a second run and improved to fourth, his team-mate ‘Bebu’ chose to back out of his lap and ended up ninth.

After another strong effort on his shootout run, Esteban ended up with the fourth-fastest time and was within five hundredths of a place on the front row.

Though he received a penalty for an infraction in Q1, for which he will drop two positions on the grid in Race One, it does not affect either the seven points he accumulated in Q1 and Q3 or his starting position for Race Two.

Nestor meanwhile was rewarded for his decision not to go for a second lap, as ninth in Q2 gave him a place on the front row for the partially reversed grid race that will kick Sunday’s action off.

What’s more, the Argentinian – who also scored two bonus points in Q1 – will be the highest-starting of those eligible to score points at Most this weekend, as he lines up second behind a wildcard entrant.

There was less fortune for the ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Civic Type R TCRs of Tiago Monteiro and Attila Tassi, who were both caught on just the wrong side of an ultra-tight fight to make the top 12 in Q1.

Tiago’s car underwent a gearbox change following FP2 after a problem while upshifting was discovered. Despite the problem not being completely solved by the time qualifying began, he still got within one tenth of a place in Q2 in 16th.

Attila might well have progressed to the second session but for a small mistake on his second Q1 run, which consigned him to 17th, just behind his team-mate. His best lap was set in the early part of the session prior to a red flag.

Following a hectic Friday, the drivers and both Münnich Motorsport teams will have a day off from track activity on Saturday, when the FIM Endurance World Championship takes to the circuit. Both WTCR races will be held on Sunday.

Esteban Guerrieri

Esteban Guerrieri 86

It was a good day, it really was. We just made the car progressively better. We knew our deficits and our strengths around the track, so we worked our way to try to improve the whole package - the driving, the car, the brakes, which were a bit of an issue in FP1. I was trying the limits as well; in FP2, I didn't complete my new-tyre run because I went off. It was all about trying to find the maximum, and I think we did because it was so tight. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the track today, so I'm happy to have scored seven points, to have maximised the potential, and I'm thankful to ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport for giving me a very good car. We will relax tomorrow, supporting the Honda EWC effort, then on Sunday we will be at maximum attack again.

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Nestor Girolami

Nestor Girolami 29

It was a very successful day for us, considering the maximum weight we are carrying. With 60kg you don't expect to be on pole, but we did what we needed to by being in the top 10. I think it was a great plan to do different strategies with Esteban - one trying to score points in Q3, and the other going for the reversed grid. It's difficult when it's so tight, but we managed to do it. On the second attempt, I knew we could maybe have got to Q3 but we didn't have the pace for pole, so it was better to stay where we were. This way, from the first row, we can try to score maximum points for the championship. We also managed to score some points in Q1, so I'm really happy both for myself and for the team with what they did.

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Tiago Monteiro

Tiago Monteiro 18

It's been a tough day, first trying to understand the track and find a good set-up - it was never easy, every session was actually a bit of a struggle - and then in FP2 we started having a gearbox issue and I could not upshift. We changed the gearbox thinking that would solve the problem for qualifying, but unfortunately it wasn’t fully fixed. That was a double whammy, as it also meant we didn’t have time to make full set-up changes for qualifying. The car is not bad, everyone is just very tight - I could easily improve a couple of tenths and I would be in the top 12. It was doable, but we're losing too much with the upshifts and the downshifts. The car has improved; it's still not 100% as I would like, but the big points are on Sunday, so we’ll try to recover and do something good.

ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport
Attila Tassi

Attila Tassi 9

I'm very, very disappointed, I feel like I could have been easily through Q1. The red flag didn't come at a good time, because then I only had one chance to get through and my banker lap before that was not amazing. On my lap, I made a small mistake and lost time. There was then a bit of confusion over the radio about my position - I was told I was fifth but it seems there was a mistake on the timing, because I had not finished my lap, then I was told it would be cancelled. It’s nobody’s fault, but of course it’s not ideal in the middle of corners. After this I tried to do a second lap before the end of the session, but there was no chance it would be as fast, so my best lap ended up being my first time.

ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport
Dominik Greiner

Dominik Greiner

Team Manager

Today was a good performance from the team, and the result probably exceeded our expectations after practice. Esteban did a fantastic job to take seven points from a maximum of 10 in qualifying, which are vital for the Championship, and Nestor backed those up with two more in Q1. Well done to the guys for preparing the cars so well, particularly with such a tight schedule. Both drivers now have good opportunities in front of them for Sunday. Unfortunately things didn't go so smoothly for Tiago or Attila, and we have a bit of work to do for Tiago to understand his gearbox situation, but we know they and the team will come back fighting on Sunday.

Münnich Motorsport
Mads Fischer

Mads Fischer

TCR Project Leader, JAS Motorsport

"We've seen some really good performances from the drivers today, particularly Esteban's great pace throughout qualifying. Nestor also had good speed and may have been able to join him in Q3, but by choosing not to improve he has a great opportunity from second on the reversed grid, where he will start first of the points-scoring cars. Both did excellently to show such pace in a tight field despite the weight the Honda Civic Type R TCR is carrying. It was a little more tricky for Tiago and Attila today but even with some setbacks they were still both within a tenth and a half of Q2 and have chances to move forward on Sunday."

JAS Motorsport
WTCR Race of Czech Republic

Autodrom Most, Czech Republic

WTCR 2021, Round 5

Friday 8 Oct 2021, 21:35 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Total Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Mikel Azcona 96 SPA 9 Zengo Motorsport Cupra 1'38.757
2 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN 4 BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai +1'38.848
3 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA 3 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +1'38.887
4 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG 7 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +1'38.890
5 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA 2 Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai +1'39.068
6 Nathanael Berthon 17 FRA 3 Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi +1'39.036
7 Thed Björk 11 SWE - Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +1'39.071
8 Yvan Muller 100 FRA - Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +1'39.088
9 Nestor Girolami 29 ARG 2 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +1'39.096
10 Petr Fulin 44 CZE - Fullin Race Academy Cupra +1'39.407
11 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL - Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi +1'39.810
12 Gabriele Tarquini 3 ITA - BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai +1'40.643
13 Rob Huff 79 GBR - Zengo Motorsport Cupra +1'39.522
14 Tom Coronel 32 NDL - Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi +1'39.543
15 Santiago Urrutia 12 URU - Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co +1'39.557
16 Tiago Monteiro 18 POR - ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda +1'39.587
17 Attila Tassi 9 HUN - ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda +1'39.647
18 Luca Engstler 8 GER - Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai +1'39.831
19 Bence Boldizs 55 HUN - Zengo Motorsport Cupra +1'40.580
NC Gilles Magnus 16 BEL - Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi DNF