Interview with Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro

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Japan
Malaysia
December 26, 2013

Interview with Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro

Honda Racing THANKS Day on 30 November 2013 at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan

Q: Looking back at the 2013 season, what's been your impression?

Monteiro
“It was a great season for the first full year of Honda's participation in the WTCC because we showed such a good performance and won the Manufacturers' Championship. And I think the evolution of the car during the season has been better than we expected. Everybody worked very well together. We pushed really hard even in difficult times. So, in the end, we achieved four wins, some pole positions and many podium finishes. I think the performance has been improving all year long. So, I think everybody deserves congratulations."

Tarquini
“It was a fantastic season. We achieved the Manufacturers' title in our first full season, and I got the second place in the Drivers' Championship. If we look at these results, I think it was a wonderful first season both for me and Honda."

From Left Tiago Monteiro, Gabriele Tarquini, Daisuke Horiuchizoom
From Left Tiago Monteiro,
Gabriele Tarquini, Daisuke Horiuchi
Tiago Monteirozoom
Tiago Monteiro

Q: For you, which was the most impressive race this season?

Monteiro
“Obviously it was the first win for the Honda Civic WTCC with Gabriele in Slovakia and the podium finishes with three of us driving the Honda. This was probably the biggest moment of the season especially because it came in the very early stage of the season. And of course, my first victory with the Honda Civic WTCC in China was a memorable occasion. All these moments have left a strong impression on me. Because we work so hard together with the whole team, we really enjoy every podium and every good result together. All of them left a very strong impression on me."

Tarquini
“For me also, the race in Slovakia was like a dream. In the third race in the first full year of Honda's participation, I got my second pole position in Slovakia and achieved the first win for the Honda Civic WTCC. And Honda's occupation of the podium in a world championship was a dream-come-true."

Q: What is the advantage of the Honda Civic WTCC over competitors?

Tarquini
“The Honda Civic WTCC is a very young vehicle compared with its rivals. Other cars like the Chevrolet are fast but they've been developed for the past 6 or 7 years. Our Honda Civic WTCC is very young, starting from zero, but we'll match their pace gradually. I think the key to our success was the tyre usage this season. In races, the speed of our car was even better than the Chevy. In terms of real performance in qualifying, the Chevy was stronger than us, but in races we were much closer than in qualifying. So, maybe Honda Civic WTCC's strongest point this year has been its race speed."

Monteiro
“I feel the same way. We had a faster race speed compared with our competitors. That's why we were able to achieve some good results. It was more difficult to effectively use tyres or to be closer to our rivals with just sheer speed in the qualifying, but in races , we got closer."

Gabriele Tarquinizoom
Gabriele Tarquini
Honda Civic WTCC at Slovakia Roundzoom
Honda Civic WTCC at Slovakia Round

Q: What's your goal for the 2014 season?

Tarquini
“Next year will be totally different. We must build a new engine and car because the regulations will change completely. But everybody will start from zero and our competitor will be more or less the same as this year. But we will have another very strong team coming in. The Citroën manufacturer team will enter with Sébastien Loeb(a man who has achieved nine consecutive titles in the World Rally Championship). Everybody is waiting to see his performance on circuits. We too are also curious about his performance. I think their car will be very competitive. In development, we are not behind other teams, but Citroën has the advantage because they have been testing their car since August. In any case, I'm really optimistic about next season and I think our team will be able to do even better than this year."

Monteiro
“Our potential rival Citroën started testing very early and that's a big advantage for them. However, we have our experience in the championship. We've already been in the WTCC for a full season. I think this is also quite good, so hopefully it will balance out. For sure, the new regulation will be very interesting. It's good that everybody will start from zero. Also from a driver's point of view, the new car under the new regulation will be quite good fun to drive and race with because it will be more powerful and lap times should be faster. Also for TV viewers and spectators it could be more interesting as well. So, it's been good timing for the championship to make this next step."

Q: What would you like to say to the fans?

Tarquini
“For me, it's great to be part of the Honda family. I can feel the history of Honda motor sports. This morning I sat in my dream car, the McLaren Honda driven by Senna. It was a fantastic experience. You can feel the passion of people at Honda and the fans. We have similar fan events in Italy too because we have great manufacturers like Ferrari. I think there are similarities between Honda and Ferrari –the passion of the people and the passion of the fans, and I think it's great."

Monteiro
“Coming to Japan at the end of the season has been very important. We received so much support during the season from lots of fans around the world. And in every country we visit, we've had a growing network of fans, which is great. Especially in Japan, it was fantastic to feel their support directly. For us, it's really nice to be here at Twin Ring Motegi to share our feeling of achievement for this season and our appreciation for their support with the fans. Honda Racing THANKS Day is a very good event and it's worth attending for us too. We hope to give the fans a good show because without them we are nothing."

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