WTCC World Touring Car Championship 2013
At the end of 12 frantic laps in Race 1 of the WTCC event at the Hungaroring, the two Honda Civics that started second and third on the grid held these position to the end to make it again a double Honda presence on the podium. Gabriele Tarquini brought the Castrol Honda Civic home in third position whilst local here Norbert Michelisz delighted his thousands of flag-waving fans by edging ever closer to the ultimate winner Yvan Muller as the race progressed to finish just 0.6 of a second behind.
“I managed my tyres perfectly and I knew we would be able to maintain a competitive speed right to the end of the race. Unfortunately Yvan had made a good start and I could not get the first position in the first few corners but second place is a great result for the Zengő Motorsport team. My aim was to get on the podium and we did. I’m sorry for my fans that I didn’t win the race but the podium is important and also more points Honda and my championship score,” said Norbert at the post-race press conference.
Gabriele Tarquini had to defend his position throughout the race but could not close on the leading pair. “I am pleased for another podium for the Civic which is still a young car for us to carry on developing. So overall performance is positive but I just did not have a very good pace. I was defending my position for much of the race with a big group of cars behind which enabled me to get clear in the end. I will try something different on the set-up for Race 2 this afternoon so that we can learn all the time about the car.”
Data from the free practices and qualification sessions is valuable in determining the setting for race day. “The engine performance is the same for all three cars,” confirms Daisuke Horiuchi, Large Project Leader for WTCC development from Honda R & D. “We improved the turbo charger fine control settings today to improve our speed over the sector 1 which includes the long home straight. We have improved the times from yesterday.”
Tiago Monteiro was a very unhappy race driver having come off the track soon after the start. “In the crowded start there was contact in one of the early corners but I managed to catch the car and get it straight but it seems the steering and brakes were damaged and I could not avoid the tyre barrier. I hope the team can get my Honda repaired in time for Race 2.”
World Touring Car Championship regulations call for the top 10 places on the starting grid are reversed for the second race so Michelisz will be on row 4 and Tarquini on row 3. It will be tough work for the Honda Civics to be on the second podium today.
More than 80,000 enthusiastic race fans cheered the Honda Civics to the grid for Race 2 of the WTCC event at the sun drenched Hungaroring. The most noise of drums, trumpets and klaxons was for national hero Norbert Michelisz who had finished a popular second in the feature race earlier but the Honda fans also acknowledged the Castrol Honda drivers, Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro.
Tiago is praying that his fortunes take an upwards move soon. Having been off the track in the melee of the start of Race 1, the Honda Racing Team JAS mechanics performed a near miracle to get the number 18 Civic into race order with the Portuguese joining the starting pack from the pit lane. Tiago overtook nine cars and completed the race distance and was classified 13th overall. “It was good experience to drive the Civic in the middle of the pack and learn how it behaves in hot traffic. We just have to keep fighting for every inch of track and for every chance of points and podiums. Nobody should underestimate the intense level of competition in the WTCC, it’s racing at the highest level between cars, teams and drivers who are fighting for every possible result,” said Tiago.
This intensity was very evident at turn 3 on the very first lap when Tarquini’s Castrol Honda was tagged by another competitor in the scramble for positions and the Civic spun backwards into a heavy impact with the guardrail and then flew back onto the track into collision with Franz Engstler’s car. The badly damaged Civic was on the track requiring the safety car to be deployed. A badly shaken Tarquini was immediately taken to the circuit medical centre for precautionary checks.
Michelisz meanwhile was battling to improve his row 4 starting position and whilst every attempt to pass was met with screams of joy from his many fans Norbi was only able to secure 8th place at the end of the 12 laps.
|1||Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruse 1.5T)|
|2||Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|3||Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|4||Robert Huff (SEAT Leon WTCC)|
|5||Mehdi Bennani (BMW 320 TC)|
|1||Rob Huff (SEAT Leon WTCC)|
|2||Medhi Bennani (BMW 320 TC)|
|3||Alex MacDowall (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)|
|4||James Nash (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)|
|5||Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)|
|8||Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|11||Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC)|