Honda exceeded expectations in first full WTCC campaign in 2013

Honda says the first year of its new World Touring Car Championship project exceeded all expectations

Honda exceeded expectations in first full WTCC campaign in 2013

The JAS-run factory team won three times in 2013 through Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro following a three-event toe-in-the-water in the WTCC at the end of last year.

The privateer Zengo-run Civic of Norbert Michelisz also triumphed on Honda's home soil at Suzuka.

Tarquini finished runner-up in the championship, although he was unable to prevent Yvan Muller from clinching a fourth WTCC crown two rounds early, and by a massive 189-point margin.

Honda's motorsport manager William de Braekeleer said he was not disappointed by this, particularly as he expected Muller and RML to prove formidable opponents in Honda's first season.

"Overall 2013 has exceeded our expectations," de Braekeleer told AUTOSPORT.

"As a first year for a manufacturer in a new championship like the WTCC, when you see a total of four victories, 20 podiums, it is really not bad.

"Of course we would have liked for the interest of the championship for Gabriele to fight to the end, and after Slovakia we thought it was suddenly on.

"But Yvan and RML had more or less the same set-up [as their title-winning years], certainly in terms of quality and experience.

"We shouldn't forget that, by contrast, everything with us started quite late, and then we had very little testing and no data from previous tracks to use."

Top 10 WTCC drivers of 2013

De Braekeleer said the impact of having no data at most tracks was emphasised by its success at circuits like the Slovakia Ring and Shanghai, where the team had tested prior to the race weekend.

Honda captured pole and claimed a podium sweep in Slovakia, and repeated the feat in the reversed-grid second race in China.

"Slovakia, we had the data because we had tested there before, that's one explanation for the result," de Braekeleer said.

"The same for Shanghai and Macau, and we made good performances there too."

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Series WTCC
Author Sam Tremayne
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