Argentine Super TC2000 driver Nestor Girolami eyeing WTCC debut

The highly rated Argentine Super TC2000 driver Nestor Girolami could enter selected World Touring Car Championship rounds later this season, potentially in a factory Lada Vesta

Argentine Super TC2000 driver Nestor Girolami eyeing WTCC debut

Reigning TC2000 champion Girolami tested a Vesta at the Hungaroring last week but it was previously thought that calendar clashes, and his contract with Peugeot in Argentina, might rule him out until 2016.

Racing as a private entry in an ex-works car from another manufacturer is another option.

"I hope he will do some races later this year," said WTCC general manager Francois Ribeiro.

"When he comes, I don't give him one race before his performance is at the front.

"He has a huge level of commitment."

The WTCC field is down to 17 cars at the Nurburgring after the withdrawal of Honda privateers Dusan Borkovic and Rickard Rydell - a temporary absence on Rydell's part owing to illness - and the Lada Sport team switching to a two-car entry after Rob Huff's Vesta was badly damaged in an accident at the Hungaroring test.

Lada's future driver plans are uncertain after James Thompson parted company with the team, replaced for the Nurburgring by Jaap van Lagen, and it is not known when or if its young Russian protege Mikhail Kozlovskiy will return to the cockpit.

"I said to Victor [Shapovalov, Lada Sport boss], 'Do you need a Russian driver or do you need three top drivers?'" said Ribeiro, who facilitated Girolami's WTCC test.

"I said, 'Give me a test for Girolami.' Then I rang Girolami - it was 7 o'clock in Argentina on the Thursday [before the Budapest WTCC round], he cancelled his plans for that weekend and called me back 10 minutes later to say yes.

"He could hire a private car for some races at the end of the season. Not all the Super TC2000 races clash with our calendar."

AUTOSPORT understands that Formula 3 European Championship frontrunner Felix Rosenqvist was among the drivers approached as potential substitutes for Rydell in the Swedish-backed Nika Honda, but the clash with the Pau event this weekend ruled him out.

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