Honda customer racing teams ready for home event at Suzuka

Tiago Monteiro © DR

With just two rounds of the 2018 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup remaining, a strong end to the season is the target for the Honda Civic Type R TCR, starting with this weekend’s home event at Suzuka.

Japan has been one of Honda’s most successful destinations in World Touring Car racing.

After debuting with a manufacturer programme at Suzuka in 2012, victories were achieved in each of the next five seasons with the Civic WTCC.

Now with a switch of venue from Twin Ring Motegi back to Suzuka Circuit, Honda’s customer racing teams are ready to do battle and add to the three wins and eight podiums achieved so far in 2018.

Tiago Monteiro makes his WTCR debut at Suzuka after a 14-month recovery from injuries sustained in a testing incident.

The Portuguese takes over the Boutsen Ginion Racing Civic Type R TCR driven by Benjamin Lessennes and Ma Qinghua so far in 2018 and is delighted to be back behind the wheel after attending every WTCR event  to date in an advisory capacity.

Team-mate Tom Coronel is a star in Japan, having won the Super Formula (then known as Formula Nippon) and F3 titles during his time racing there. He is also a three-time World Touring Car race-winner in Japan.

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport driver Esteban Guerrieri scored a hard-fought fourth place last time out in Wuhan, China, but is pleased to return to Japan, which was the scene of his first race – and first podium finish – as a Honda factory driver in the WTCC last year.

Team-mate Yann Ehrlacher has won twice in 2018 and the Frenchman believes the characteristics of the 5.8-kilometre circuit near Nagoya will suit Civic Type R TCR particularly well as he aims to add to his victories at Hungaroring and Zandvoort.

Timo Scheider debuted in the WTCR at Ningbo, but has been highly unlucky to suffer opening-lap contact in four of the six races he has started so far and is aiming for a drama-free weekend as he searches for his first points finish.

Tiago Monteiro #18 (Boutsen Ginion Racing) : « I cannot even begin to tell you how good it feels to be back. Coming to race weekends all year and watching other people do what I should be doing has been tearing me up inside, so I think Suzuka is going to be quite emotional. The fact that I’ll be returning at Honda’s home circuit – the same place I made my first WTCC start with them in 2012 – is also very special and a great way to repay the faith and support they’ve shown me throughout my recovery. I’m not setting targets; I just want to have fun and play myself in at my own pace before I come back full-time in 2019. »

Tom Coronel #9 (Boutsen Ginion Racing) : « Japan is one of my favourite countries and Suzuka is definitely near the top of my favourite tracks’ list. I raced in Japan for a few years and won championships in Formula 3 and Formula Nippon and I’ve also won three times in Japan in World Touring Cars, so it’s definitely been a country that’s been good to me and has some of the best and most passionate fans in the world. The time is right to take a step forward in performance and we’ve been working hard as a team to achieve this. I think having Tiago back is fantastic and I look forward to spending time with my old friend as a driver again. »

Esteban Guerrieri #86 (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport) : « Suzuka is a circuit I’ve been looking forward to racing on all my life. Ayrton Senna – a Honda legend – is my racing hero and I remember some of the most famous races of his career coming at Suzuka. To stand on the podium or win there as a Honda driver myself would be very special. It was also one year ago when I had my first race for Honda – also in Japan – so it’s nice to think back about the successes we’ve achieved together so far. »

Yann Ehrlacher #68 (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport) : « I’m very excited about racing at Suzuka in front of Honda’s home crowd, and about competing at this legendary circuit. The circuit Suzuka is most similar to on the WTCR calendar is Zandvoort, and that was a track where I won and was on the podium in all three races, so I’m confident that we can get into a good rhythm with the Civic Type R TCR early on and have a strong weekend so we can totally forget about the disappointing results in Wuhan. »

Timo Scheider #42 (ALL.INKLCOM Münnich Motorsport) : « Suzuka is a legendary circuit and one I’m very happy to be racing at for the first time this weekend. The Civic Type R TCR handles very well and I think this will suit the medium-speed twisty section in the first half of the lap nicely. The target is to score points. We made some good progress in Wuhan – which was only my second event in a front-wheel-drive car – and I think the potential was there to finish well if we hadn’t had some issues and some contact. I’m sure that Suzuka will be our best opportunity to score some good points. »

Press Release Honda,

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