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Jean-Karl Vernay: ‘I don’t think we can beat the Hondas’

Jean-Karl Vernay was not optimistic about being able to beat the Hondas in Sunday’s TCR International Series races at the Hungaroring, despite putting his Volkswagen Golf on the front row for the first race.

Vernay is in a rebuilt car for the races in Budapest this weekend, and the Frenchman didn’t let that faze him, as he quickly got up to speed in second practice, ending up second fastest.

The Leopard Racing driver then continued that pace into qualifying, topping the Q1 session by just under two tenths of a second, before missing out to Honda driver Norbert Michelisz in Q1 by 0.614 seconds.

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Vernay praised his team for their efforts in preparing his car, but does not believe he will have the pace to beat the leading M1RA Honda on Sunday.

Instead, Vernay says his focus will be on at least equalling the points score of championship rivals Stefano Comini and Roberto Colciago.

“Today’s result makes me very happy, as it comes as a nice reward after the very difficult week the team had,” said Vernay. “Last Sunday, at the Salzburgring, we finished with two wrecks instead of two cars and I too wasn’t in a very good shape…

“To be able to be here with two cars in perfect conditions and me relatively fit is simply great.

“This is a good track for the Golf and one I like a lot, so tomorrow the objective will be to score as many points as possible.

“I don’t think we will be in a position to beat the Honda cars, which are very fast, especially at the start, but if I can score as many points as Colciago and Comini, it will be good.”

Vernay also welcomed local hero Michelisz into the championship, with the presence of the factory Honda World Touring Car driver in the championship only a good thing according to Vernay.

“I would like to say how great it is to have another top-class driver such as Norbert in the series. The presence of guys like him or Rob Huff is really a plus, also for us drivers.”

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