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Honda hopeful despite weight handicap

The Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team heads to China for the penultimate round of the 2013 World Touring Car Championship with an additional 40kgs of success ballast on board.

After the win at Suzuka by the Zengö Motorsport team and their driver, Norbert Michelisz, plus the podium finish for Tiago Monteiro as well as the recent performances in Argentina and in the USA, Honda have joined Chevrolet as the heaviest cars on the grid – with most of their rivals now 60kgs lighter.

Gabriele Tarquini arrives at Shanghai second in the drivers’ Championship and he admits that the best thing which could happen for him and the team this weekend is a wet race as the tyre wear around the Shanghai International Circuit is high.

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“It will be important to manage the tyre conditions through the chassis set-up so that we have adequate tyre performance right till the end of the races, however, the best scenario for us would be to have a wet race,” the Italian racer warns.

He also warns that the two races won’t be easy due to the extra weight but the layout of the circuit should make for some exciting races.

“Shanghai is a Grand Prix track of course,” explains Gabriele. “There are no kerbs; it is quite flat and very wide. It is great spectator viewing and the TV show will be great. At the end of the long, long straight there is very hard braking into a slow hairpin. It gets quite exciting there!

“The first corner is a very long slow turn, possibly the longest corner in the whole World Championship but it all makes it an exciting track to drive. I know it won’t be easy for us because of our extra weight but, as always, I will fight for every position,” Tarquini added.

Team-mate Monteiro has experience of the 4.6km circuit in a Honda having raced at the circuit for the team in 2012, as part of their three weekend introduction to the Championship.

He, like Tarquini, admits that it will be a tough weekend with the extra ballast on board but is targeting a first victory in 72 races.

“It is going to be tough with the extra weight. We have the data from last year which will help us with initial set-up but the Civic now is so different as we have developed all year long. My hope is to take a victory before the season ends, it has been so close on several races,” Monteiro concluded.

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