Honda’s Tiago Monteiro says that he is pleased with Honda’s qualifying progress in the World Touring Car Championship, after the Portugese scored his best qualifying result of the year with fourth at the Hungaroring.
Monteiro qualified ahead of team-mate Gabriele Tarquini in fourth and was just 0.439 seconds behind the lead Citroën of poleman Yvan Muller. Monteiro admits that he is pleased that Honda have been able to close the gap to the front, even considering 60 kg weight break which the field now has over the French cars.
“For sure it’s a step forward,” said Monteiro to TouringCars.Net. “As I said we have been working very hard to improve many different areas. Everything works together, so it’s definitely an improvement. Even if you take off the 60 kg, it’s probably half a second. So with half a second, plus half a second, it is around one second, which is better than we had so far. So overall we are happier.”
Monteiro, who was third fastest in Q2, admits that he feels he could have split the Citroën party and was only 0.053 seconds away from Sébastien Loeb in Q3.
“We could have been in front of Sébastien – it was very close and my first sector was not the best,” added Monteiro. “So I’m pleased overall, especially because during the weekend we’ve improved a lot. Maybe not so much in performance but in the driveability of the car and the performance as well. We still have a lot to do, but it’s nice to feel that at least it’s going in the right direction.”
“We are compromising the first sector almost as if the car is not ready. The balance of the car, front and rear, is not ready for the first sector and then it gets better and better and better [in sectors two and three]. Apparently I did the fastest last sector because the car just gets better, which is good in the wet but we need to find a way to start earlier.”