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Honda expand to three cars with Rob Huff and Norbert Michelisz in ’16

Honda’s World Touring Car Championship operation will be expanded to included three cars for the 2016 campaign, with 2012 champion Rob Huff and independent’s champion Norbert Michelisz joining Tiago Monteiro in the team.

Huff leaves the LADA Sport team with whom he has spent the past two seasons, joining Honda for its renewed assault on the title.

“Over the past couple of seasons, I’ve become very used to seeing the Civic WTCCs in front of me, so it’s terrific to have the chance to race one this year,” said Huff. “I won’t be happy to finish my career as only a one-time World Champion, and there’s a tremendous opportunity with Honda and JAS to correct that statistic.

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“I raced a JAS-built Civic TCR at Macau last year and it was a very well-built and fast machine, so that gives me plenty of confidence that we’ll have a strong season. I can’t wait to start testing.”

Michelisz, who has raced independent Civics with the Hungarian Zengő Motorsport team since 2013, will get his first factory drive in the championship, having previously taken two wins for the marque as an independent driver.

“I am thrilled to become a factory Honda driver in the FIA World Touring Car Championship with JAS Motorsport,” said Michelisz, who has raced full-time in the WTCC since 2010. “I have raced Honda machinery for the past three years and it has been an extremely good relationship that has enabled me to win races and take the Yokohama Trophy last year.

“I’m very grateful and hope I can repay the faith Honda have shown in me this year.”

Tiago Monteiro remains with the team, having been part of Honda’s touring car effort since late 2012, when the Japanese manufacturer first entered.

“I’m delighted to be staying with Honda for the 2016 season,” added Monteiro. “We’ve made a huge amount of progress with the car over the past couple of years and I know everyone has been working extremely hard over the winter to make the car even faster.

“This gives me a great amount of confidence that we can have a really good year, despite the incredibly high level of competition in the championship.”

The news comes after it was confirmed in December that Gabriele Tarquini would part ways with the team after three years.

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