Gabriele Tarquini drove his Castrol Honda Civic WTCC to a comfortable victory in Race 2 in the WTCC at Suzuka to deliver the second race win of the season for Honda in consecutive events. To the delight of the many Honda fans and associates here at the Honda owned circuit, the experienced Italian made his normal lightning start to drive away from the opposition to take the chequered flag 1.7 seconds ahead. To underline this excellent race performance Norbert Michelisz brought his Zengő Motorsport Civic home in third position.
For Tarquini, WTCC World Champion in 2009, this victory continues his remarkable record of winning at least one race in every season he has competed in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
“I am really pleased with my result,” said the smiling Italian in victory lane. “This was my chance to win and I took it. In order o win the race I knew I had to get away from the pack to quickly create a gap which I could do. I was confident because we know the Civic has good race pace. It is never easy but I could control the pace and manage the gap right to the end. It is very important for Honda at their home track and not having an Italian race this year I now think this is my home event! I am really, really happy.”
An equally powerful start saw Michelisz up to third place on lap 1 and the young Hungarian stood proudly on the third step of the podium having taken victory here at Suzuka in 2013 and had finished Race 1 in 4th place. “I knew I had to make a fast start and I tried to pass Borkovic on the first lap so that I could give Gabriele some protection but although it is a very long lap here it is difficult to pass. I’m very happy to contribute to Honda’s success with my 3rd place result.”
Victory proves that all the development work being carried out is effective as Alessandro Mariani, managing director of J.A.S.Motorsport points out. “We know that over the length of a race we have competitive pace. We have to improve our performance over the single lap which is the vital element for good qualifying positions. Especially Tiago lost out this weekend as he had to start both races from 11th position which makes it very hard.”
Monteiro finished both races in 9th position. Shanghai winner Mehdi Bennani finished Race 1 in 11th place.
In Race 1 Tarquini made his customary super start gaining three places before the first corner to slot in behind Norbert Michelisz for the first 8 laps. With just two laps to go a multi-car shuffle at the chicane saw Michelisz jump to 4th with Tarquini 6th.
Daisuke Horiuchi, Large Project Leader for WTCC development from Honda R & D, stood proudly on the podium as the winning manufacturer’s representative. “I am of course very happy with the win which does compensate for our disappointment after qualifying; like in Shanghai, the race pace showed the improvements we have made on the engine and on the chassis, but we still need to improve. We know which areas we have to work on to be fully competitive in the future. I am very pleased with Gabriele’s and Norbi’s podium places for our many Honda fans and for the whole Honda team.”