A year after taking their maiden World Touring Car Championship podium, Honda saw their three cars finish inside the top five ahead of the penultimate round of the season at Macau.
The ninth visit to the Guia circuit produced its normal drama throughout qualifying and the end result left Honda with the most cars inside the top 5 at the end of the session.
Tiago Monteiro led the Japanese manufacturer’s attempts in qualifying and the Shanghai race winner finished second fastest in the interrupted session – he had topped the times during the first part of qualifying which saw a total of three red flags shown for various accidents.
“I am very happy with the car, we got the balance correct quite quickly,” explained Monteiro.
“I love the Macau circuit it is a big challenge. I am still amazed that we continue to discover new elements about this car to be quicker each time we run. I really did not expect to do quite so well in qualifying here and I am really looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”
Team-mate Gabriele Tarquini lines up third on the grid and has moved one step closer to securing the Championship runners up spot – he is 25 points ahead of Tom Chilton and outscoring him by a single point in the penultimate race would secure the vice Champions position.
Tarquini admits that he could have had a completely different result in the second part of qualifying after clipping the barrier at Fishermans corner.
“I was a bit too optimistic on the first run in Q2 and just caught a tyre barrier on the exit of Fisherman’s corner but was able to drive straight back to the pits,” explained the Italian.
“I was very lucky not to have more serious damage and the JAS team repaired the Civic immediately and although I could feel a small steering problem, the car worked superbly for that final lap run. Although I need to collect all the points I can to hang on to second place in the Championship I am not going to miss the chance to win the race if I possibly can,” he added.
The third Civic run by Zengö Motorsport for Norbert Michelisz finished the session fifth fastest and starts on the inside of row three for the opening race of the weekend, while the 24th and final round of the 2013 campaign sees Michelisz sixth, Tarquini 8th and Monteiro 9th on the grid.