Honda 1-2-3 matters more than whoever won, says Michelisz

Norbert Michelisz says securing Honda's first ever WTCC 1-2-3 in Morocco was more important to him than fighting for victory in the race.

Honda 1-2-3 matters more than whoever won, says Michelisz
Podium: race winner Rob Huff, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC, second place Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC, third place Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Podium: race winner Rob Huff, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC, second place Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC, third place Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Podium: race winner Rob Huff, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC, second place Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC, third place Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Rob Huff, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Rob Huff, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Podium: race winner Rob Huff, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC, second place Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC, third place Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC

The Hungarian finished second behind teammate Rob Huff in Race 2 in Morocco, with Tiago Monteiro locking out the podium for the Japanese marque.

While both Huff and Monteiro have stood on the top step of the podium in 2016, Michelisz is yet to win a race.

But the 31-year-old is not disappointed after losing out to Huff, he feels the joy for the team result is much stronger.

"My car performed really well straight from the beginning," said Michelisz. "I don't really care who came first, second or third as long as we had the 1-2-3.

"It's an incredible result for us. I was not too optimistic when we saw we had the rain, but we made the right decisions and it was fine."

When asked if Honda can repeat the feat on a more ordinary track, with Marrakech being unusually narrow and featuring lower top speeds, the Hungarian said: "With a similar weight compared to Citroen in qualifying, we were still quite close to them.

"Although of course with the wet races it was difficult to see how the long-distance performance was.

"In general, you see that even with a lot of weight we are close to them, so I expect us to fight with them much more often than we did in previous years. We will have at least one or two more possibilities to score pole positions and race wins.

"We now have had weekends when we were the reference, so for us the next step will have to be winning the World Championship."

Teammate Huff, too, believes Honda is in with a great chance at the title.

"We are going to keep pushing and developing, with the car we have everything seems possible," said Huff.

"I believe all three of us, especially Tiago, are in a good position to fight for the championship. Although I lost a potential 25 points in Hungary, it's still early in the season, hopefully we will have a few more 1-2-3s this year."

Lopez cracked under pressure

In the main race, Monteiro was involved in a race-long tussle with Citroen's Jose Maria Lopez for the final step of the podium.

Lopez snuck past the Portuguese at the start, but a mistake from the reigning champion later in the race saw Monteiro retake the spot.

"I had a lot of wheelspin coming out of Turn 1, which allowed not only my teammate [Michelisz] but also Pechito [Lopez] to pass," said Monteiro.

"I was obviously not too happy but I was quite optimistic, the race was very long and I knew something could happen.

"When I started putting pressure on him, I saw he [Lopez] made little mistakes, but not enough to overtake.

"And suddenly he made a bigger one, I had the opportunity and had to jump on the inside. We came very, very close to each other but it was nice and fair."

At the front Huff was watching all the action in his mirrors and feels it was nice to see his rival 'cracking under pressure'.

"We were holding gaps between each other, I could see Lopez was pushing, but then he made a mistake, which was nice to see," he said.

"It was his second mistake of the weekend and it shows that, when you put the pressure on, people can crack."

Pietro Casillo / TouringCarTimes

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