The Honda Civic World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) drivers had much to be pleased with in Beijing over the weekend as they set the quickest times in free practice sessions, were first in the first qualifying session and claimed a second place on the starting grid. It was a performance that showed just how far the car had come over the summer months and that the team’s hard work to close the gap with the competition is beginning to pay off.
But while the signs were good, frustratingly this promising performance was not capitalized on the short Goldenport Park Circuit; a combination of race incidents and simple bad luck means the drivers of the Castrol Honda team will now have to wait until Shanghai to show what the car is truly capable of.
Echoing Mariani’s thoughts, Daisuke Horiuchi, Large Project Leader for WTCC development for Honda R & D, said, “The results this weekend do not reflect the performances of the Civic WTCC. Beijing clearly was a turning point in the season though. After multiple test sessions it is clear that we have taken a big step forward performance wise. Our target is to continue working in Shanghai, and to be fully ready for the meeting in Suzuka.”
Immediately after the race in Beijing the WTCC caravan started its 1,100 km long journey towards its next stop, Shanghai.“It was a beautiful win,” recalls the Portuguese driver, who in 2006 and 2007 participated in the Chinese Grand Prix.
It is only logical then that the Honda Civic WTCC of Gabriele Tarquini, Tiago Monteiro and privateers Norbert Michelisz and Mehdi Bennani will attract a lot of attention in Shanghai. Especially since the gap with the competition has been closed so considerably.