We were back at Suzuka after a year and I was moved by the Civic's and team's improvement as well as Michelisz's victory (Rd.10 Suzuka, Japan)
We went back to Suzuka where we competed in the WTCC for the first time a year ago. We didn't make any major change in our cars for Suzuka and went to Honda's home race with a setting from our year-long effort. The fact that we'd raced there the year before helped a lot in terms of data as well as our state of mind, and I think we were able to have more steady and stable races than in 2012. I was able to see major progress in both our cars and the team's actions compared with a year ago.
Michelisz started qualifying in good shape to take pole position from which he scored an emphatic victory. This was truly an accomplishment that a year of hard work had helped make possible. With this win, I felt relieved because we were able to get a good result at our home race, and I was also very pleased to see the improvement of our cars and all the team members.
We did some repair to the body of Michelisz's car for Suzuka. Because of some hard-fought races since the beginning of the season, the body of the car had some dents and distortions to be fixed before the races in Japan. Together with the replacement of the engine in the previous round, I think Michelisz's car was in the best condition compared with the other two works cars. On the other hand, it was disappointing that those two cars weren't able to show their true performance after accidents in Race 1. Despite the unfortunate situation though, Monteiro fought aggressively to achieve a wonderful result – a podium finish in Race 2.
At Suzuka Takuya Izawa made a one-off appearance. Although his car was last year's, I believe that we were able to give it a similar potential as this year's car because we tried to incorporate this year's specifications as much as possible and he didn't have to carry any compensation weight. It was a shame that he couldn't post a good time in his last fast lap in the qualifying when he had a broken rear damper. If that hadn't happened, he would have been able to advance to Q2 and compete with the other three Civics for good results in the races. That was a shame as he was recording equal times as the other three in the practice sessions. He also received high praise from the team and I felt he is a very good driver. So I felt sorry that he couldn't come out in a good position in the qualifying to show his ability to the Japanese fans.