WTCR - Race of Germany post-qualifying virtual press conference | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WTCR - Race of Germany post-qualifying virtual press conference

04.06.21

WTCR - 2021 Race of Germany - Post-qualifying virtual press conference transcript

In attendance:
Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport), pole position
Jean-Karl Vernay (Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team), second position
Esteban Guerrieri (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport), third position

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO/WATCH THE VIDEO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZRX64zDB7A

Q:
Esteban, you talked before the sessions about how physically demanding this track and you were exhausted after qualifying today

EG:
First of all, congratulations to Néstor and Jean-Karl. Those days and moments you qualify on the Nordschleife you have once in a year. This track takes out all your energy, the concentration, the buzz, everything you need to put in there. It’s really demanding, like 100 per cent, so I really enjoy it, all three attempts. I really went for it because we didn’t know if it was going to rain or not, so already from the beginning we just went for a very hot lap. There were some places that were a little bit damp, a little bit dusty. So you need to try not to crash but keep pushing. It was good fun. I have to thank the team a lot because we had some issues yesterday with the steering rack and so on, so the mechanics basically worked hard for 72 hours in a row. They barely slept, so in the end this is a little bit of a reward for them, to be able to put it there in the top three and fight tomorrow for good points. Very pleased and let’s say hopefully we’ll have two good races tomorrow. Let’s have fun.

Q:
You had a very different day yesterday compared to today, so how are you feeling now about the pace and what you can expect for the race?

EG:
I’m happy. For my last attempt we changed the set-up because I had understeer. It’s hot and the track is so demanding for the tyres. So we did this change and I knew where I could improve here and there. I had a little bit less understeer in the car, but in the end it’s difficult to put it all together if you make a little mistake here or there. It’s fun. It gives you time to recover around the lap. I have a good feeling for tomorrow.

Q:
Jean-Karl you must be very happy to be here today, because what a difficult day you had yesterday. First of all, tell us what happened yesterday.

JKV:
Just a little issue, we were a little bit late finishing the car. As you can see, Hyundai has sold many cars for TCR Europe and the WTCR. Like Esteban’s steering rack it was a minor issue, but here it can be dangerous for this kind of problem. But we were able to solve it thanks to the team. Pretty much the same situation as Esteban’s, they worked a lot to make sure we were there in FP2 for me to get some tie to discover the condition of the track. Today this was the moment where we needed to put everything together and concerning myself just give everything because we know of the quality of the grid in WTCR. If you want to be on the front row you always need to give everything. I felt good, took many risks so it would already be finished after the first lap, going a little bit on to the grass. But I was able to make a good lap, not as fast as Nestor, but I think we can be very happy. Now let’s keep focused. I think I will be between two Argentinian guys for the start of race two, so we’ll see. I can’t wait for tomorrow to score big points, finishing both races and leave the Nordschleife with some good results.

Q:
It was also important for you today to prove to the team what you are capable of

JKV:
Yeah, of course. When you start a new challenge everything is new for me. The team is new, I’m working for a new manufacturer, also the position racing with three other drives is new. But I have two team-mates who are world champions and a young rookie in Luca who is really quick. My target like all the drivers is always to win the championship, but I also wanted to show them that they made the right choice and that I have their confidence. For Hyundai I am doing PURE ETCR, FIA WTCR and 24 Hours of the Nürburgring. For the confidence they have already given it to me, now it’s my work to give it back and to do that I need to bring them results. It’s too early now, but I think it’s a good start.

Q:
After two days on track what can you tell us about the new Hyundai?

JKV:
I think the car is well born, for sure, an improvement compared to the previous one. I had the chance to test the i30, but not so much so it is difficult for me to compare. But obviously they have improved all the little negative points because the i30 won so many championships and was already a fantastic car. The main thing I can say is the new car gives you confidence, especially in the fast corners like Flugplatz. In the crazy corners the car is a little bit more stable and that gives you more confidence, especially for a new driver like I am for Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing.

Q:
Néstor, what an amazing lap. Talk us through the session from your perspective.

NG:
First of all, congratulations to my team-mate Esteban and to Jean-Karl, and to everyone at ALL-INKL.com because they did an amazing job. They gave me a brilliant car. It was very strange because we started FP1 and FP2 with mixed conditions and we were not very sure what would happen in qualifying. We were guessing a little bit and as Esteban said the first attempt was not perfect, the balance had a little bit of understeer, so we worked with my engineer and he made the right choice before we decided to go for the second attempt and improved by, I think, seven tenths which sounds like a lot but at this circuit with 8 minute 50 seconds it is not a lot. Very happy with the result, two years in a row to make pole position is not easy especially at the Nordschleife where you have to put everything together. The concentration this track demands is crazy, so really happy for that and I’m feeling the support of my family. My wife is here with my daughter. Having them here is nice, so of course I want to dedicate this to them but especially in this moment to Carlos Reutemann, a Nürburgring winner in 1975. He’s in a critical situation at the moment so I said a positive energy to him and his family. We know he was a special legend in Argentina, so all my thoughts are with him.

Q:
We have a tricky situation because tomorrow the races will be early in the morning when it will be much colder. Will you be taking a gamble with that in mind?

NG:
To be honest, I don’t know what will happen here at the Nordschleife. Every time we come it is a sunny day and then when it comes to the race weekend it becomes unclear. It happened in VLN. One race was cancelled. All week it was sunny and really nice and getting close to the race weekend it was a gamble. So tomorrow it will be more than that, so we have to be prepared for everything, especially the team. We as the drivers know all the situations, we have had the possibility to test a lot. I have to make the right decision in the right moment and take a lot of points and don’t have any incidents with my friend Jean-Karl and have a good race for Honda which is really important to start the year on the right foot.

Q:
Who else could be fighting for the win tomorrow because this is a really close battle?

NG:
Not easy. You always want to win here. Everybody wants to win. But at the Nordschleife you never know what is going to happen. Even though today I was the fastest tomorrow we will not see the pace of the car until the race. It’s important to have a good balance in the car and good speed because we have a long straight in Döttinger Höhe that is more than 2km, so it is important to make a good gap before the long straight and in the reverse grid race try to score as many points as we can