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Honda ‘very confident’ after qualifying

Honda’s Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini admit that they are “very confident” of scoring a strong result in Sunday’s World Touring Car Championship races at the Slovakiaring, after the duo secured first and third for the race two grid.

By qualifying in tenth and eighth, Monteiro and Tarquini secured strong starting for positions in race two, around a circuit that the manufacturer took a 1-2-3 result at in 2013. For Monteiro, it is his first pole position since starting first in China in 2013 – a race the Portugese went on to win.

“It’s definitely a good position to be in – no doubt about it,” said Monteiro to TouringCars.Net of his first pole of the year. “We were very good here last year. The situation is a bit different [this year] but we are confident that we can fight.

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“The set-up was not fantastic on the used tyres but I think we know how to manage that and to fine-tune to have a strong, decent car in the races. We have some good race pace so far. I’m very happy and very confident to be in this position for sure. Whether it’s dry or rain we’ll [have to] keep looking at the skies…”

Tarquini, who starts third for race two, had a more eventful qualifying session. Before the Italian had a chance to post a timed lap in Q2 his bonnet clips failed, sending the hood onto the windscreen of his Civic.

With Tarquini unable to see, he slid off the circuit, bringing out the red flags. It was that stoppage that enabled him to return to the pits, have his bonnet sealed, and post a lap good enough for eighth when the session resumed.

“Fortunately for me I could rejoin the garage and the mechanics did a fantastic job to put back the bonnet,” said Tarquini to TouringCars.Net. “I then did in the very last seconds my lap. I was in traffic – heavy, heavy traffic, especially at the beginning of my lap because everybody started earlier than me, so I was in the middle of the traffic. I’m happy to be on the reverse grid with a good position.”

Tarquini added that he remains confident even if the races turn out to be wet, as is widely predicted, due to the previous performances of the Civic in such conditions.

“If tomorrow it will be wet like it seems, not from watching the sky today but the weather forecast [tomorrow] then in the wet we have a really good opportunity to score many points and a podium in both races,” added Tarquini. “In Le Castellet the Honda car seemed to like this kind of slippery track.

“We have small experience coming from some test days and especially coming from the weekend in Le Castellet, so I’m still optimistic about the race tomorrow.”

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