Pole man Thierry Neuville pleased with lap, worried about start
Thierry Neuville says he was “very pleased” with the lap that netted him a stunning debut pole position in qualifying for the TCR Germany championship round at the Nürburgring – but is worried that his lack of experience could hurt him at the start later today.
Rally star Neuville, making a maiden guest appearance in the Team Engstler-run VIP Hyundai i30 N TCR this weekend, edged out team-mate Max Hesse by 0.037s to clinch pole in the Eifel mountains on Saturday morning.
The Belgian was unsurprisingly in good spirits when talking to TouringCarTimes after the session, but revealed that he is yet to conduct any significant start practice – something that could potentially hamper his chances as he bids to lead the field away from pole in Race 1.
“I’m very pleased [with the pole lap], but disappointed that I couldn’t really improve on my last outing there [in qualifying]. I went two tenths slower because I was not aggressive enough,” said Neuville.
“My fastest lap was a really nice one. I didn’t know how fast it would be compared to the other drivers and in the end it’s 37 milliseconds, so it was close! We will see what the race brings but I have only done one launch in the car and it didn’t work out well. I was stuck in the pit limiter actually, I forgot to switch it off…”
When told that he had smashed the previous TCR Germany qualifying lap record on his way to pole, Neuville replied that he was not aware of the feat.
“I didn’t know,” he said. “I was here testing half a month ago and the track was quite much slower. It’s two corners only where you can feel the difference, but the track was slower then for sure. Now, many cars are driving and the track is probably a lot quicker”.
The weather forecast currently predicts a dry opening race on Saturday, with rain predicted to strike the Nürburgring for Race 2 on Sunday.