TC2000 champion Nestor Girolami gets two-round WTCC deal

Argentine Super TC2000 champion Nestor Girolami will join the World Touring Car Championship for two rounds in 2015 ahead of a potential full-time move next year

TC2000 champion Nestor Girolami gets two-round WTCC deal

The 26-year old tested a Lada Vesta at the Hungaroring last month, but his contract with Peugeot Argentina precludes a full-time move to the WTCC this season.

Instead he will replace Rickard Rydell in the NIKA International Honda Civic for next week's race at the Slovakia Ring and the Vila Real round in July.

Series boss Francois Ribeiro has long coveted the opportunity to bring Girolami to the WTCC and reignite a crowd-pleasing rivalry with Citroen's Jose Maria Lopez.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT at the Nurburgring WTCC round in May, he said, "Ideally Girolami will drive at least two WTCC races before the end of this year."

Girolami said: "It's definitely the best opportunity I have had in my career and I cannot wait to start.

"I have a lot to learn about the car, the tracks and the championship so I will be taking things step by step.

"I would love to come to the WTCC next year and race for a full season.

"Racing against 'Pechito' [Lopez] would be the ultimate because he is the reference in the WTCC.

"This is what we are working hard towards achieving but we have to take things slowly and keep the focus on these two races before we think too much about the future."

Although the Civic is not quite a match for the dominant Citroen C-Elysee, independent runner Norbert Michelisz and factory driver Tiago Monteiro have won reverse-grid races in 2015.

Rydell scored points from lowly grid positions in the opening rounds at Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, but then missed the following rounds because of a thyroid-related illness.

He will return to the cockpit at Paul Ricard at the end of June.

Team boss Nicklas Karlsson added: "We want to thank Rickard for making this gesture to allow Nestor to drive his car in two races, especially as he's not been able to take part in all the races this season because of illness.

"It's never easy for a driver to do this but Rickard understands the importance of allowing our team to give this option to an upcoming driver and we really do appreciate that.

"Besides, we will take that opportunity to evaluate the feasibility of a two-car team in the future."

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