Honda’s Tiago Monteiro believes a lack of power cost him the chance to take victory in the second World Touring Car Championship race in Hungary, after a race-long battle with Gianni Morbidelli yielded a second-placed finish for the Portugese racer.
Monteiro, who started seventh, was up to second by the end of the opening lap after a strong start. Thereafter the Honda driver was forced to sit behind Morbidelli’s Chevrolet, unable to find a way past.
Morbidelli put up a staunch defence to keep Monteiro at bay. Indeed, aside from the opening lap of the race, Monteiro was never more than half a second off the Italian.
“I couldn’t have had a worse driver in front because Gianni has amazing experience and is a very talented driver,” said Monteiro to TouringCars.Net. “He had it pretty much under control for most of the race. Even though I pressured as much as I could he didn’t make any mistakes, really. He managed to control it, apart from one small mistake on the last lap at the chicane where he braked a bit late and then stopped the car a bit too much. Apart from that he did a good job, so there was not much I could do.”
Although Morbidelli was able to put up a strong defence, Monteiro also believes that his Honda’s lack of straight-line speed cost him the possibility to fight for victory. Aside from the LADAs, the Honda proved to be one of the slowest cars through the speed trap in the final sector.
“This [the engine] is still where we need to find a solution, because we are still lacking some power,” admitted Monteiro. “We will have an update on the engine soon, though I don’t know when but it will come. It’s still a deficit for us and that cost us a victory because we definitely have a better car overall, but were not close enough to overtake.”
Monteiro and the Honda team will stay in Budapest for the next three days to take part in further testing of their new TC1 Civic at the Hungaroring. The team will test further parts on the car with the aim to find improvements for the Slovakiaring event next weekend – which Monteiro admits to having concerns about.
“We have new parts – maybe even for the test, which should be flown here tomorrow,” added Monteiro. “Then if they work we’ll have them for the Slovakiaring. On the chassis we’ll have some small bits.
“We still have a question mark,” said Monteiro when asked about the team’s likely Slovakiaring performance. “Many things which used to work on the car last year don’t necessarily apply to this car. This is one of the hardest things when you don’t test enough; it’s difficult to know what works and what doesn’t.
“The Slovakiaring has very long, sustained corners – the corners are shorter in radius. The Slovakiaring reminds me of Argentina [Termas de Río Hondo] or Spa [Francorchamps]. Because even though we might be strong in the corners, which I think we will to be honest, I’m very concerned about the fact that if we have differences here, which is one of the shortest tracks in terms of straight lines, we might be in trouble in Slovakia because there are very long straight lines and many of them – three or four long ones.”