WTCC World Touring Car Championship 2013
Honda Civics will start from row two and three of the grid for Race 1 of the WTCC event here in Porto after a tough battle during qualifying. With temperatures soaring well above 30 degrees, Norbert Michelisz grabbed 4th position whilst Gabriele Tarquini finished the session in 5th place on row three. Tiago Monteiro will start from 17th on the grid following turbocharger problems much to the disappointment of the many housands of local fans who have come to the circuit to cheer on their local hero.
Following this morning’s practice session Tiago’s turbocharger had to be replaced. This difficult job is even more problematic in trackside conditions and against the clock. A small seal in the pressure manifold did not maintain the maximum turbo pressure and he was only able to complete a few laps before problems returned. It is expected that the number 18 Civic will be at full strength for tomorrow’s races.
“That’s bad news for me and our race fans but we have to keep fighting right through the season. I just wish we could have got a quicker time in before the problem. I was fifth fastest in first practice this morning so I was expecting a better result this afternoon,” said Tiago surrounded as usual by his fans.
“It is very difficult to change the turbocharger with the engine in the chassis,” reports Daisuke Horiuchi, Large Project Leader for WTCC development from Honda R & D. “There is so little room to work on the installation that maybe the seal was not correct for the qualifying.”
Fourth position on the grid is another great result for Michelisz, the young Hungarian once again showing his talent at the wheel of the Zengő Motorsport Honda. “I have raced here before but also spent a lot of time on the simulator so that I really feel at home quickly on this track. Let’s hope we get a good start and a clean race tomorrow.”
“It was very, very hot in the car this afternoon,” said a very damp Tarquini at the end of the session. “I had sweat running down the side of my face so I had to really concentrate to get the best out of the car. Certainly the track was hot as well and the tyres went off quite quickly. But it is the same for everyone and the real race is tomorrow.”
Tarquini, who took pole position and race 1 victory here in 2009, arrived in Portugal for the final race of the European section of the WTCC holding second position in the drivers’ championship and with a very positive assessment of the first half of the year in the brand new Honda Civic WTCC. “For me I am more than satisfied with the results so far in the first year. We have won a race, I have had two pole positions and a Civic driver has been on the podium 10 times. Honda heads the Manufacturers’ World Championship. The second half of the season is always tough as we travel the world but I feel good that the Honda is maturing into a very quick car.”
For Tiago Monteiro, Porto is home which means he really is the local hero and during race week especially he receives super star treatment. Tiago took a podium position here on the last WTCC meeting so has featured in all the event promotions with local events and TV appearances in the build-up period. He has had a German media crew actually living with his family this week, even accompanying his children to school!
“It is just such a fun atmosphere to have a World Championship come to my home city and everyone is so enthusiastic and happy to go to the races. It means a lot of events for me but the result I hope will be the biggest possible support for the Castrol Honda team for Sunday’s races,” says Tiago.
The 7th event of the WTCC season is running on the dramatic 4.8km street Circuito da Boavista created on the roads around the green Parque da Cidade in Porto and is one of the few racing circuits anywhere with a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean gleaming in the powerful sunshine. The circuit is assembled every two years and has hosted the World Touring Car Championship here four times now. A classic race meeting is held on the previous weekend to give the enthusiastic local fans a feast of premier motorsport every two years.
|1||Yvan MULLER (Chevrolet Cruze)|
|2||Tom CHILTON (Chevrolet Cruze)|
|3||Michel NYKJAER (Chevrolet Cruze)|
|4||Norbert MICHELISZ (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|5||Gabriele TARQUINI (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|6||Pepe ORIOLA (Chevrolet Cruze)|
|17||Tiago MONTEIRO (Honda Civic WTCC)|