WTCC and Honda at odds over second Zengo entry
WTCC boss Francois Ribeiro and Honda have found themselves in disagreement over the matter of engine supply for the second Zengo Motorsport entry of Daniel Nagy.
After its long-time driver Norbert Michelisz was signed by Honda's works team, privateer squad Zengo announced its intentions to expand to a two-car programme for Ferenc Ficza and Daniel Nagy.
But while Ficza has been racing since the Slovakia round, Nagy has yet to make his debut - and that has been a cause for disappointment for Ribeiro, who is working to increase grid numbers and the number of privateer entries.
Ribeiro told Motorsport.com: "I'm very, very, very upset with [Honda's engine supply partner] Mugen, for instance, because they promised Zengo the second engine for Nurburgring.
"Then they said 'Nurburgring is too short we're doing to do Moscow', then 'it's too short and now we're going to do Villa Real'.
"We have a car, a driver, a budget but we have no engine and he's going to do only the second half of the season.
"And I tell you, that young Hungarian, I think, could be - if you hear Norbi [Michelisz] talking about him, I'm very curious how he does in the WTCC, could be a very good surprise in the championship."
Honda backs Mugen
However, Honda Motor Europe's motorsport manager William De Braekeleer defended Mugen from criticism.
De Braekeleer told Motorsport.com: "I don't blame anybody there, it's normal procedure - the reason why [Zengo] cannot enter the second car at the moment is a question of availability of engine, because they didn't secure the budget for entering the second car until late in the off-season.
"If they came in February - I don't know when they confirmed - but they said 'okay, we have the money, we want to race, we want an engine'."
"Okay, Mugen is not a pizzeria where you reserve your pizza," he joked. "You need to prepare the engine, to order the parts and, especially at that time of the year, all the suppliers are just full of work - and you are back of the queue.
"And if you didn't anticipate in September, you need another four months to prepare the engine, and that's what's happening now.
"Also, I understand that Mugen needs to have financial guarantees, so you need a down payment - it's all little difficulties which made the fact that the engine is not yet there.
"Hopefully it can be there - if not Portugal, then for Argentina."
Yvan Muller picks up podium place in rainy Russia
Jose Maria Lopez: A "debacle" of a weekend in Moscow