The Honda Civic WTCC makes its second appearance in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) this weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit in China. This is the first time the WTCC has visited the Circuit, which was built for the F1 Grand Prix.
After finishing in the top ten in both Races 1 and 2 at its debut event in Japan, the Civic WTCC faces a new challenge on the high-speed track in China, which has very different characteristics to Suzuka.
For the free practice sessions in the morning, the team chose a set-up which suited the layout of the track. And as they continued to prepare the car, the Civic WTCC finished Free Practices 1 and 2 in tenth and eighth respectively.
Qualifying 1 (Q1) started at 3:30pm on Saturday and in his first attempt Tiago Monteiro posted a lap time of 1:57.834 before returning to the pit. With a fresh set of tyres, Monteiro went on to set the 13th fastest time (1:55.742). Then after another pit stop, he looked to improve his time before the end of the session. However his efforts were not rewarded. His final lap was 1:55.777, meaning Monteiro had to settle for 17th.
The improved balance of the car was not reflected in the lap times during qualifying partly because Monteiro did not have the chance to use slipstream effectively – a common technique used on a high-speed track. But whilst the result from qualifying was not as expected, the team remains confident of a good performance in the races tomorrow.
Race 1 will start at 2:45pm and Race 2 at 4:00pm local time on Sunday, 4 November.
Driver Tiago Monteiro: "In qualifying I couldn’t find a good tow, so my times were not as expected. If you are alone on this high-speed track, you can lose almost half a second. But let’s not forget that we are still learning, so we are not shocked or surprised by this result. Of course, we’ll try to recover some positions and hopefully get some points, but our main goal tomorrow is to finish the two races and to learn as much as possible."
Honda Racing Team JAS Team Principal, Alessandro Mariani: "Our goal was to be in the top 10, but the Shanghai International Circuit is completely different from the other tracks, so we have had to learn many aspects of engine management and the car set up. We are pretty satisfied with the balance of the car, but things didn’t work as we expected during qualifying. And also Tiago couldn’t use slipstream, so we lost a few tenths of a second there. We feel frustrated because we couldn’t advance to Q2, but we are confident about showing good pace in the races tomorrow. We will try to conserve our tyres because this track is hard on tyres, and we would like to stay away from a crash or accident. If we can do this hopefully we can drive through the field and finish in the top 10 again."
Chief Engineer for Civic WTCC Development, Daisuke Horiuchi: "We were not able to make any major changes to the engine after the race in Suzuka, but we tried to improve drivability. The track in Shanghai is fast and therefore a new challenge. The balance of the car has been improved and we had expected to finish the qualifying in the top 10, so I am a little disappointed. We will do our best to move up as many positions as possible tomorrow. The performance of the car has improved, so the driver will be able to take advantage of it."
Saturday, 3 November 2012
Shanghai International Circuit (4,603m)
Track condition: dry
Free Practice 1 1:57.393 (10th)
Free Practice 2 1:57.631 (15th)
1 Robert Huff Chevrolet Cruze 1:54.491
2 Alain Menu Chevrolet Cruze 1:54.775
3 Colin Turkington Chevrolet Cruze 1:55.018
4 Yvan Muller Chevrolet Cruze 1:55.032
5 Norbert Michelisz BMW 320 1:55.243
6 Tom Coronel BMW 320 1:55.246
17 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic WTCC 1:55.742
Qualifying 2 (Q2)
1 Alain Menu Chevrolet Cruze 1:54.383
2 Yvan Muller Chevrolet Cruze 1:54.409
3 Norbert Michelisz BMW 320 1:54.523
4 Robert Huff Chevrolet Cruze 1:54.582
5 Colin Turkington Chevrolet Cruze 1:54.777
6 Stefano D’aste BMW 320 1:55.142