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“I made a mistake” admits Gabriele Tarquini

Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini vented his frustration after a crash during the early stages of World Touring Car Championship qualifying in Hungary prevented him from setting a time.

Tarquini will start both of tomorrow’s races from the rear of the field after crashing on his first flying lap during qualifying, having run wide on the exit of Turn 3 before drifting into the inside barrier, wrecking the front end of his Honda Civic.

Tiago Monteiro was able to salvage sixth place from qualifying in the sister Civic, although both he and Tarquini were both disappointed after impressing in the day’s two practice sessions.

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And Tarquini was doubly disappointed given that the team had introduced aerodynamic upgrades to the car for the weekend which had improved his car’s performance.

“I made a mistake,” admitted the 53 year-old. “The track was dry but the kerbs were wet. I ran a bit wide and as my rear wheels hit the wet outside kerbs, that was it, I spun and crashed into the tyres.  The impact broke the rear suspension and front splitter.

“The car felt good until then, I had good balance but now it will be very tough for me. It is frustrating because we had a real opportunity here. There is definitely more to come from the car; we haven’t yet seen the full potential of the new aero kit working owing to the changeable weather.”

Team-mate Monteiro admitted that the team had not run in full dry weather mode in qualifying, but insisted that podium finishes were in his sights despite he and Tarquini being unable to carry over their form from practice.

“We were very happy with the car this morning in wet practice,” said the Portuguese. “For sure the new aero kit works, giving better downforce and it means the car is much more effective in those conditions. In the dry we didn’t go to the full dry specifications, which probably hindered us. The car was good but not as good as I know it should be in the full dry specification.

“We will now analyse the data and certainly as we know the weather should be dry tomorrow, we will go to the maximum dry spec set up. Starting fifth and sixth in the races is not ideal, but we can fight for podium results from there.”

Norbert Michelisz qualified in tenth

Home favourite Norbert Mischelisz qualified in tenth in the third JAS Motorsport Civic, handing him pole position for tomorrow’s second race – although he too was left with mixed emotions after qualifying.

“I am happy with pole position for second race but not so happy with the performance,” said the Hungarian. “Until Q2 I struggled a little so if I managed to do a very good lap my best chance was fifth, maybe fourth.

“At the end we decided that the timing was right and Bennani had stayed on the track so would be behind me. I am happy with the position and a possible podium but of course we need to improve overall.

“We know where the performance is coming from. We had understeer and tried to change something on the car but there is little time in qualifying. I will compare the data with Tiago and hope for a good result tomorrow.”

JAS Motorsport Managing Director Alessandro Mariani shared his drivers’ disappointment given the impressive performance they had shown in practice, but hoped Monteiro and Michelisz would be in contention for solid results come Sunday.

“I’m really disappointed because when I saw the weather today, I hoped the rain would continue but it improved very quickly. In the wet conditions earlier I was really happy because all three cars were in the top five. Gabriele was very close to Lopez and he set his best time in the second session. The only bad thing that could have happened was a dry track. And it happened!

“Gabriele was the quickest Honda driver today but he made a mistake. For Tiago and Norbi the setup of the car was not the best – too much understeer, which we can correct for tomorrow. Fortunately Norbi was able to get 10th position and a pole for the second race. Both he and Tiago have good potential for points.”

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