Honda Civic WTCCs show improved pace with two going into Q3 shootout.
In a somewhat disjointed qualifying session on Vila Real's tricky street circuit during which two red flags featured across Q1 and Q2 the Honda Civic WTCCs showed clear progress across the day's earlier practice session and into qualifying.
Strong sector times for all four Civics
Nestor Girolami, running with Honda Racing Team Sweden set the early standards for the Honda quartet, topping the timesheets on his first Q1 run having demonstrated his speed and precision on this complex track.
With fifteen minutes to go debris on track brought the first red flag, at which point all four Hondas were comfortably within the top seven.
Into Q2, Girolami's supreme confidence was sadly cut short; the Argentine suffering with a puncture, bringing his session to an abrupt end.
Traffic an issue for Monteiro
The Castrol Honda pairing were both looking good for entry into the Q3 shootout but for Tiago Monteiro the opportunity didn't materialise - due to traffic ahead he was unable to maintain the pace on his flying lap and as a result, the Porto-resident just missed the top five, posting a P6 time.
Fuel pressure problem forces Tarquini to abort final run in Q3
Team-mate Gabriele Tarquini took the Civic through into Q3 alongside Zengõ's Norbert Michelisz. By the flag Michelisz's best time posted him 4th, with Tarquini forced to abort his flying lap owing to a fuel pressure problem the Italian having just posted a quicker S1 time and looking promising for a front-row challenge.
The final positions mean the Hondas will line up on the second and third rows of the grid three Civics in the top six - with Girolami regrettably out of position against the car's obvious potential, starting from 12th for both races.
Gabriele Tarquini (5th/6th): "Traffic was a bit of an issue today with my first and second attempts affected but fortunately I had another set of new tyres. I was within the top 12 but on my last run in Q1 I was a little conservative to be safe. In Q2 I made a small mistake but fortunately it was red flagged so we all returned to the pits. I decided to wait a little before going back out but I was confident I'd have the pace for Q3. I managed a good lap but again traffic was present, although I was able to go P3 and into the shootout. For Q3 the beginning of my lap was good but my car picked up a fuel pressure problem so I had to abort and return to the pits."
Tiago Monteiro (6th/5th): "The sessions didn't quite go as expected. I thought I would have the pace to be in Q3, otherwise we would aim for P10. Traffic was a big problem for me so tomorrow will be difficult; it's not easy to overtake here but I hope to be on the podium so I will try to do a good start and make up the places."
Norbert Michelisz (4th/7th): "I think we can be satisfied with the result, getting into Q3 and 4th position is as I expected so hopefully we can have a clean race tomorrow and score a podium finish."