Chief Engineer for Civic WTCC Development Report

Chief Engineer for Civic WTCC Development Report

Round 6 - Round 8
Endless Development Challenges

Despite achieving a podium finish, the situation was tough for Honda (Rd. 6 Moscow Raceway, Russia)

“The WTCC visited the Moscow Raceway for the first time-a circuit, designed by famous German specialist Herman Tilke. With its well-organised facilities such as the pits and garages, I was a pleasantly surprised by Russia's commitment to this new circuit. The track layout, with its many technical sections such as the combination of a long straight and tight corners, also reassured me that it's a modern circuit.

However, this layout would cause us to suffer later on. The maximum compensation weight of 40kg continued to be imposed on our CIVICs, following the previous round at the Salzburgring circuit, and carrying this extra weight adversely affected us more than we'd expected. Our primary rivals, Chevrolet, also bore the same weight, but it was only a 10kg compensation for SEAT, none for BMW and -20kg for LADA, which made a difference in technical sections as well as on acceleration on the straight. Although a 30kg compensation weight was also applied to our cars in Hungary after our success in Slovakia, we were not affected so much from it. But in Moscow, the extra weight felt very heavy and affected our time more than we'd expected.

We'd introduced a new bonnet louver as a way to counter drag on the straight in preparation for Moscow, and also tuned the engine to effectively use the upper limit of its turbo boost pressure. I believe that these new attempts were successful, but we encountered some unexpected obstacles. During the qualifying, Monteiro's car came down with an electric problem on the chassis resulting in a failure in the water pump, and consequently an increase of water temperature in the engine. Therefore, Monteiro was unable to do any fast run in the qualifying. Weighing the possibility of an increase in water temperature and the grid penalty that will be imposed to replace the engine, we opted to apply a new engine for his car because a grid penalty would not make much difference in his starting position.

While Michelisz started Race1 from 4th and finished 3rd to maintain Honda's consecutive podium finish, Tarquini, who was fighting at the top of the point standings, had to settle in 6th in Race 1 and 7th in Race 2. With these somewhat lackluster results for him compared with previous races, I felt like we'd been badly beaten.

At that time, we didn't know what would happen to our compensation weight for the next races, but through these races in Moscow, I felt strongly that we needed engine power which could brave those weight handicaps.”

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