Today, Rounds 19 and 20 of the WTCC took place under a clear sky at Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture, Japan.
Race 1 got underway at 2:30pm and was competed over 26 laps on the East Course of Suzuka Circuit. Tiago Monteiro started the race in his Honda Civic WTCC from 11th. After a rolling start, Tiago kept his position at the beginning of the race. Throughout there were close fights with the cars in front and behind, but the Civic WTCC driver maintained his place and when a front-runner went off the track on Lap 22, he climbed to tenth – the position he kept until he was shown the chequered flag. After the finish of the race, the Civic WTCC was promoted to ninth in the final classification due to a penalty given to another car.
In Race 2, the first 10 cars in qualifying were placed in reverse order on the starting grid. After a standing start from 11th, Tiago maintained his position at the early stage of the race and later started fighting closely with a BMW in front. After a long battle over 10 laps, he finally overtook his rival on the first corner on Lap 23 to move up to 10th before finishing the 26-lap race.
Rounds 21 and 22 of the WTCC in China will be held on Shanghai International Circuit on 3 and 4 November.
Driver Tiago Monteiro: "We are very happy and excited that we got our first points. Only a few weeks ago, we said we it would be great if we could break into the top 10, and that’s where we are, so I’m satisfied. The car felt quite good, a lot better than in qualifying. But we are still learning about the car, and every time we try to find a better setup and balance in the car, so especially in Race 2, the car was very good. It was very important for us to finish the races in decent conditions as a first step and we will keep working hard in Shanghai and Macao to lean more."
Honda Racing Team JAS Team Principal, Alessandro Mariani: "I am very pleased because we were able to show our speed in the actual races. Our lap times were very good and consistent. Unfortunately, it was difficult to overtake on the short Suzuka circuit and the result of yesterday’s qualifying affected our final outcome. However, finishing in the top ten in the two races – and not that far from the winning cars – is a good result. I would like to thank the engineers at Honda who created the excellent new engine and our team members who have worked hard, night and day, to achieve this result – a great effort that has really paid off."
Chief Engineer for Civic WTCC Development, Daisuke Horiuchi: "I am pleased that we completed both Races 1 and 2 in our debut round. The car, including the engine, performed well and didn’t have any major problems. However, there’s so much more for us to work on and improve. Although we’ve not had long to prepare, we were able to make it in time for Suzuka. So, I think we have achieved a satisfactory level for now. We will continue working hard to complete the car for the next rounds in China, and we really appreciate everyone’s support."
Sunday, 21 October 2012
Suzuka Circuit East Course (2,243m)
Track condition: dry
Warm-up session 54.470 (11th fastest)
1 Alain Menu Chevrolet Cruze 26 laps 23:44.880
2 Yvan Muller Chevrolet Cruze 26 laps 23:45.692
3 Robert Huff Chevrolet Cruze 26 laps 23:46.299
4 Gabriele Tarquini SEAT Leon 26 laps 23:58.708
5 Alex MacDowall Chevrolet Cruze 26 laps 23:59.153
6 Tom Coronel BMW 320 26 laps 24:04.750
9 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic WTCC 26 laps 24:06.164
1 Stefano D’aste BMW320 26 laps 23:54.717
2 Pepe Oriola SEAT Leon 26 laps 23:57.279
3 Gabriele Tarquini SEAT Leon 26 laps 23:57.562
4 Robert Huff Chevrolet Cruze 26 laps 23:58.491
5 Alain Menu Chevrolet Cruze 26 laps 23:58.937
6 Yvan Muller Chevrolet Cruze 26 laps 23:59.285
10 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic WTCC 26 laps 24:05.330