– Tiago Monteiro equals season best finish in securing second podium of the year
– Gabriele Tarquini content with points
– Norbert Michelisz claims Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy in first race
Tiago Monteiro has today claimed his second podium of the season for the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team in fighting style in Germany.
Starting from pole position for the second race, the Portuguese ace made a great start off the line in his Honda Civic WTCC, leading his team-mate – who also made a good getaway from the grid – before Yvan Muller got the jump on the second placed Civic, forcing Gabriele Tarquini back to P3.
Ahead Monteiro maintained consistent pace throughout the race, seemingly more comfortable in the car, but despite a determined and faultless drive he was unable to keep Muller at bay. The Frenchman closed in and claimed the lead but the leading Honda fought hard to stay within striking distance.
Over the ensuing lap the Castrol Honda duo looked set to make their mark on the Nürburging podium, Tarquini running in third but despite their best efforts, neither Monteiro nor Tarquini could answer Jose-Maria Lopez’s pace as the Argentinian emerged ahead just yards before the finish line.
Norbert Michelisz’s race ended abruptly with contact from another competitor resulting in retirement owing to rear suspension damage on the first lap but a 4th place finish in the first race means another points-scoring finish for the Zengo Motorsport team as they take the winning Yokohama Drivers trophy honours.
In race one Tarquini took a 5th place finish whilst Monteiro suffered miserable luck, himself the victim of another competitor’s incident resulting in a puncture and subsequent retirement on the final lap.
Gabriele Tarquini: “I was really happy with the handling of the car. We improved the chassis every time we went on track this weekend. In race 1 I was following Tiago comfortably on lap 1 and when he went out I was hopeful of holding the place but on the last lap I couldn’t defend and finished 6th. My race 2 start was good. It was very busy at turn 1 but Tiago and I settled into 2nd and 3rd. But again I couldn’t defend on the final lap. I’m happy with points and I have really enjoyed racing here.”
Tiago Monteiro: “At the start I pulled away and I was able to push quite hard, I was feeling confident. It’s the best I have felt all weekend. The balance of the car was good. I was pushing until the end, focussing on Yvan. But when I saw Lopez passing my team mate I was hoping I would be ok, but he passed me quite easily. It’s not new, we know our strong points and we know our weaknesses. But we have more work to do.
Norbert Michelisz: “First I would like to say that I enjoyed every moment driving on this track. It was really special, the amount of adrenaline you have on this circuit is just amazing and the support has been great. For the first race from 4th I knew that it would be difficult to overtake so I focussed on my start – I made a good one but I was pushed wide in contact and my steering was damaged, meaning the car was not 100% and I had to settle for 4th. In the second race my start was quite good and I managed to gain some places but I suffered with contact and as a result of too much damage, retired from the race.”
Alessandro Mariani, Managing Director JAS Motorsport: “I’m happy with the podium but it is a small prize for all the work put in by the whole team. It’s good to have two Civic WTCCs in the top five positions and of course I am pleased for Norbi to taking 4th as the leading private entrant with one of our cars.”
Daisuke Horiuchi, Large Project Leader for WTCC Development at Honda R&D: “I am a little disappointed with the final results. Everyone worked very hard for this weekend, but we will work with the data we have collected and plan for the future.”
The FIA World Touring Car Championship moves on to Moscow for rounds 9 and 10 on 5th-7th June 2015.