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Honda duo frustrated with qualifying efforts

Honda duo Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro were left feeling frustrated after World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) qualifying at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.

Tarquini had earlier been fastest in all of the practice sessions ahead of qualifying, but the experienced Italian could only muster up sixth in qualifying, having left it late to post a lap time in Q2.

“I tried to do my best, attacking on Q2 but I made a mistake in turn one and had big oversteer,” said Tarquini. “I tried to recover the time I lost but as is often the case, when you push too hard you make another mistake, and I did it cost me Q3.

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“The car was very good, but I just went maybe a little wrong on the set up. I elected to change between Q1 and Q2, but maybe not in the best direction. But I made mistakes. P6 is the worst position to be on the grid, but we will see tomorrow what we can do.”

Monteiro, although not as fast as his team-mate in practice, had still shown strong pace in the early stages of the weekend.

Unfortunately for the Portuguese driver an engine change penalty would force him to start race one from the back of the grid. As a result, Monteiro’s target was securing a front row starting position for race two – which he missed out on after qualifying in eighth (and thus third for race two) in Q2.

“Starting from the back for the first race is of course frustrating, especially at the home race, but that’s the way it is, so we have to focus and keep doing a good job,” said Monteiro. “It means we concentrated our strategy on the second race, aiming for P8 or P9 to limit risk. P10 or P9 of course would have been better; it’s not a guaranteed win but it obviously helps to be on the front when going for the victory.

“Overall I’m quite satisfied the car was good, the pace is clearly there as shown by Norbi [Michelisz] today. It’s a shame I couldn’t be part of that fight for pole but that’s how it is and I congratulate Norbi for his great result.”

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