Tiago Monteiro and his new Honda Civic scored points in both races on their maiden appearance in the WTCC, Sunday at Suzuka.
This was the first time in WTCC history that a model representing a newcomer manufacturer scores while making its debut.
Monteiro finished both races in tenth position and was later promoted to ninth in Race 1, following the 30-second penalty imposed to Aleksei Dudukalo.
“We are 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 ten, and that's where we are. The car felt quite good, a lot better than in qualifying. But we are still learning, and every time we try to find a better setup, so especially in Race 2, the car was very good. It was important for us to finish both races in decent conditions as a first step and we will keep working hard in Shanghai and Macao to lean more,” Monteiro said.
The principal of Honda Racing Team JAS, Alessandro Mariani echoed: “I am 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 and the result of Saturday's qualifying affected our final outcome. However, finishing in the top ten in the two races – not that far from the winning cars – was a good result.”
Chief Engineer for Civic WTCC Development, Daisuke Horiuchi added: “I am pleased that we completed both races. The car and the engine performed well and didn't have any major problems. However, there's so much more for us to work on and improve. Despite the short time we had to prepare, I think we have achieved a satisfactory level for now.”