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Honda to haul 70 kg of weight at the Hungaroring

Honda will have to carry an additional 70 kg of compensation weight in the World Touring Car Championship rounds at the Hungaroring – just 10 kg shy of Citroën – as a result of their strong start to the season.

Having taken two victories and seven podium finishes between them, the works Honda drivers will now have to deal with additional weight when the WTCC visits Budapest this weekend.

With Tiago Monteiro leading the drivers’ championship from defending champion José María López by just one point, the Portuguese racer knows it will be hard to maintain that lead this weekend.

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“We’ve had a fairytale start to the season,” said Monteiro. “I’m leading the drivers’ championship, Honda is ahead in the manufacturers’ points and as a team we’ve been on the podium in every race and had a MAC3 win in Slovakia.

“It will be very tough to keep up this level of performance in Hungary with 70 kg on board. This compensation weight will make managing our tyres a key element of our weekend, although having experienced the improvements we’ve made both in the car and in how we work as a team this year, I’m optimistic about another strong performance.

“I had two podiums in Hungary in 2014 and to do something similar would keep our challenge for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles on track.”

Whilst Rob Huff is being cautious about predicting strong results at the Hungaroring, he admits he enjoys visiting the circuit in part due to the huge Hungarian fan base in the sport.

“I’m very much looking forward to the Hungaroring,” said Huff. “It’s a track where I’ve usually gone very well and one at which all the Honda drivers should be able to really show what the Civic WTCC is capable of.

“It’s also great because it’s Norbi’s home race and he draws an incredible crowd to the event. I’ve seen the reaction he gets on the podium in Hungary and it’s an incredible spectacle.

“We can’t ignore the fact that while the start of the season has been great for Honda, we’ve run lighter than our main rival manufacturer at the first two rounds, and this won’t be the case in Hungary when we have to carry 70 kg of compensation weight.

“We have to be realistic about what we can achieve, but we’ve been on the podium at both of the first two rounds and this has to be the aim again.”

Norbert Michelisz is currently third of the works’ Honda trio, having scored a brace of podium finishes in the season opener and following it up with a brace of top tens in Slovakia.

However the Hungarian star is expecting to face a challenge to win this weekend, given the extra ballast on board his Civic.

“Every time I get in a racing car, it’s a special feeling, but to do it in front of my home crowd is something incredible,” said Michelisz. “A race win at the Hungaroring is worth more to me than a victory anywhere else. I’ve won there twice before, including last year in a Honda, and the reaction was just crazy from the fans.

“Because we’ve started the season very strongly, we will have to carry 70 kg of compensation weight, almost the same as our main rivals. This will make the race weekend in Hungary very tough as the Hungaroring is a tight and twisty circuit where a heavy car is at a big disadvantage.

“But the Civic is a very strong car and I’m optimistic we can put on a good show.”

Citroën will continue to carry 80 kg of weight in Hungary, whilst LADA pick up an additional 50 kg of wright.

Neither the Polestar Volvo’s or the RML Chevrolet’s will gain any weight for the weekend’s event.

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