Nancy Knapp Schilke
Honda is ready for the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship to begin, even if it is still July of 2012! The world-wide manufacturer from Japan named their two selected drivers, who both are multiple race winners in motor sports competition.
Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro are the selected pair for the works team to campaign the Honda Civic; which will be prepared by JAS Motorsport. Honda Research and Development will showcase a new 1.6 litre 4 cylinder direct injection turbo-charged petrol engine. Both drivers were eager to take on this new challenge, and they will take part in the development of their new babies this year.
The 2009 WTCC champion Tarquini is marking his return with Honda and JAS. With years of experienced in touring car series, he said, “I am very proud that Honda called me back to restart together again. I was theirs and the team’s first choice from the beginning, and we have worked together planning all the steps to set the programme up. Honda is one of the most important brands in automotive industry and in motor sport. They have achieved countless victories in all the categories.”
Monteiro also is excited about his new future: "It is a source of great pride to have been chosen by Honda to represent the brand's colors and this iconic start already during this 2012 season! These six years in the championship have given me the experience necessary to meet this challenge with success. I’m really happy to team up with Gabriele again. He helped me a lot when I joined SEAT and we get very well together.”
Hideo Sato, General Manager of Honda Motorsport Division in Japan, commented: “We are delighted to have Gabriele back with us and excited to welcome Tiago into the Honda racing family for the first time. Both are former Formula One drivers and have also proven time and again that they belong in the absolute top echelon of world touring car drivers. We are convinced that both drivers will contribute to the success of the Honda Civic in the FIA WTCC.”
About JAS, Tarquini said, “The team is very professional and I know all the people very well from my past years with them. There will be no need for adjustment periods. We start working with a lot of optimism and I believe we have all we need to be competitive straight away,”
For the development and testing plans of the new WTTC Civic: “There will be three sessions of two days each. Gabriele will start the tests and I will finish them. I will then also drive two additional days in Sugo, Japan, before the first race," Tiago clarified. "These tests will be of paramount importance. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but essential work that is very interesting for a driver. We have to develop the car starting from scratch, but it is a very rewarding task and I know that beforehand.”