Gabriele Tarquini says that Honda must be able to fight Citroen for wins in the coming WTCC rounds after the French team dominated qualifying in Hungary despite its weight penalty.
Citroen dominated the qualifying session at the Hungaroring last weekend even with compensation weight coming to effect - the C-Elysees running with the maximum 60kg of ballast, while Honda, Lada and Chevrolet all ran at the lowest possible weight of 1,100kg.
Tarquini reckons that Honda has to take full advantage of being able to run so much lighter than the dominant French machines, saying: “We must be closer than this.
“I don’t know if we can beat them on the same weight, but when we are 60kg lighter we must be able to beat them.
"At the moment at some tracks we are far away, but there are some tracks coming up where we must beat them.”
The 2009 WTCC champion also eluded to the possibility that the French marque were not even showing their full potential during the first few race meetings, after no noticeable change in performance was seen in Hungary.
“When I judge the qualifying performance, I’m also aware of the weight," he added.
"The difference was more or less the same difference per kilometre as the first race when we were all on the same weight, which was on a track where normally speed is more important than here.”
Tarquini’s races in Hungary were blighted by a mistake in qualifying, where he damaged the newly upgraded Honda Civic, forcing him to start from last at a track where overtaking is notoriously tough.
The Italian finished 11th in race one, but was later disqualified from the first race as the team had connected the tyre pressure sensor while the car was still in parc ferme between the two races.
In the second race, Tarquini’s race was over before the first corner after he was forced off the track by John Filippi, who edged to the left after bogging down at the start and into the former champion’s path.
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes