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Gabriele Tarquini anticipates difficult overtaking in Moscow

Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini expects overtaking to be difficult in Sunday’s two World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) races on the Moscow Raceway, with the Italian starting from third for race one as a result of his best qualifying performance of the year so far.

Tarquini made his first appearance in Q3 in Russia, posting a time good enough for third on the grid. However, he admits that he put extra emphasis on getting a good grid position due to the difficulties of passing on the circuit.

“It’s my first normal qualifying [of the season],” said Tarquini. “In the previous rounds I always had some troubles in qualifying. Sometimes it was my fault, sometimes not.

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“This weekend I focused on qualifying because I knew at this track it’s very important at the start and from last year’s experience overtaking is always difficult, especially in our car because we are normally not faster than the others on the straight.

“I’m happy because since the first lap in Free Practice 0 [Friday testing] the car was good and I focused on this to improve a little bit. In the end I made a good lap but it was not enough to beat the Citroën.”

Tarquini insists that his team have not worked on any additional improvements to the Civic ahead of this event, with the team predicting ahead of the race meeting that the Moscow Raceway would suit the characteristics of their car more.

“The characteristics of this track make better the characteristics of our car,” explained Tarquini. “The top speed is always important but at this track it’s not very important. And also our car is very good on these types of corners.

“We must improve because the Citroën pace is far away because the weight difference is important – it’s 40 kilos. Even with this difference in weight we are behind so we must improve ,although my car is more competitive this year than last year, overall speaking.”

Tarquini hopes that the championship battle between Muller and López ahead of him will allow him to take advantage at the start of race one.

“We know that after the first lap the race is almost over,” he added. “There are two guys fighting for the championship and I have nothing to lose. I can risk much more than the guys in front of me because I don’t play for the title. If there is a chance I will be there.”

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