Nestor Girolami scored vital points for series leaders ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport on a tough day for Honda Civic Type R TCR drivers in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup on the streets of Vila Real.
Saving his new tyres for Sunday’s qualifying session, which decides the grid for two races, the Argentinian qualified 14th, his progress compromised by the 50kg compensation weight carried by the Civic plus the 10kg added in a Balance of Performance adjustment this week.
A strong start gained him a position, and he was also able to take advantage of contact between KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro and another car to climb to 11th place by the chequered flag.
Team-mate Esteban Guerrieri maintained his lead of the Drivers’ Championship, despite a challenging day.
A sensor issue and yellow flags at the end of qualifying restricted him to 19th place – which became 16th due to penalties applied to other drivers – and the Argentinian did the near-impossible by climbing to 12th place a few laps from the finish.
But a sudden power loss caused him to slow for the remainder and dropped him to 24th; a result that means he still leads the standings by 15 points.
Home hero Tiago Monteiro was buoyed as KCMG’s recent resurgence continued and produced his strongest performance since the Marrakech street circuit in April.
Sadly for the Portuguese, who climbed from 15th to 10th early on, he was run off the road by a rival who braked too late for the first chicane after taking the joker lap, and fell to the back of the field while waiting for his assailant to move out of the way. He finished an unrepresentative 23rd.
Team-mate Attila Tassi’s engine-change since the Nurburgring guaranteed a back-of-the-grid start under series rules, but in showing top-15 pace in practice and qualifying, he validated several set-up options explored by his team during the day.
Staying out of trouble, despite the tightly-packed field, the Hungarian finished 21st.
Sunday features a morning qualifying session to decide the grid for two afternoon races.