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Honda drivers say they are ‘in good shape’ for Slovakia

Honda duo Rob Huff and Tiago Monteiro believe they are ‘in good shape’ for this weekend’s World Touring Car Championship races at the Slovakiaring, due in part to their 80 kg weight benefit over rivals Citroën.

Having won in the season opening race in France on his début for the Japanese manufacturer, Huff admits that he has ‘a lot of confidence’ for the coming weekend at the Slovakian circuit.

“It’s always good to come back to Slovakia,” said Huff of the circuit which has been on the WTCC calendar since 2012. “The track is relatively new, but it has the feel of an old-school circuit like Brno or Zandvoort with its gradient changes and mix of fast and medium-speed corners. Putting in a good lap time is very satisfying. It’s also the longest lap of the season – at 6km – other than the Nordschleife.

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“I won here in 2012 and arrive with a lot of confidence of adding to that this weekend, especially after the super pace we were able to show in both races in France.

“We’re also very aware that this is probably the last event where our car will be 80 kg lighter than that of our main rival. On a track like this, where tyre wear is high, that should benefit us even more than it did in France. We’re in good shape.”

Although Huff won in France, team-mate Monteiro is actually higher in the championship standings in second overall, thanks to a strong qualifying performance and race two podium.

The Portuguese racer has never previously won in Slovakia, but adds that the circuit characteristics should play to the strength of the Civic TC1.

“Paul Ricard produced a fantastic result for us,” said Monteiro, who is just four points shy of leader José María López. “The practice and qualifying pace was great in the damp conditions and also when it dried out, and we secured fourth and second-placed finishes. That was on a circuit that hasn’t usually been so good for the Honda either.

“The Slovakiaring is a totally different kind of circuit with very few slow corners, so handling is key and this is an area in which the Civic is really fantastic. There are also a couple of long straights, which should provide good opportunities to overtake.

“I finished second in Slovakia in 2013 and I’d be surprised if, as a team, we can’t at least repeat that this weekend.”

Norbert Michelisz had earlier also revealed his confidence ahead of the third round of the season this weekend.

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