Published on April 3rd, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Civic WTCC on Front Row for Championship Opener
The Honda Civic WTCC will start both races at the opening round of the 2016 FIA World Touring Car Championship from the front row after a dramatic qualifying session at Circuit Paul Ricard in France.
Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team driver Tiago Monteiro showed terrific speed all day, setting the pace in a damp opening practice session and then adding second spot in a dry FP2.
The Portuguese translated the improved pace of the Civic into qualifying to go second fastest and achieve the best starting spot for himself and Honda at Paul Ricard since the WTCC began racing at the French circuit.
Monteiro’s British team-mate Rob Huff, who makes his WTCC debut for Honda this weekend, will start second for the opening race and ninth for the main race; his session affected by a slight lack of top-end speed during the day.
Honda Racing Team JAS driver Norbert Michelisz showed strong pace in FP1 to end up fourth fastest and was then eighth in FP2.
The Hungarian, who is racing for the JAS Motorsport-run team for the first time this weekend, improved on his dry showing in qualifying to place sixth for the main race and fifth for the opener.
New to the WTCC for 2016 is the ‘Manufacturers Against the Clock’ team time trial, which made its debut after qualifying. An enthralling session, held in changeable conditions, excited the fans, who were treated to an ultra-close finish.
Honda placed third in MAC3; Norbert leading Tiago and Rob, who struggled to get away from the line, to the checkered flag, to ensure six early points as the battle for the WTCC manufacturers’ championship kicked off.
Today’s opening race begins at 6.15pm (Malaysian time) with the main race taking place at 11:15pm.