WTCC: Round 02: Morocco

The highs and lows of motorsport were experienced by the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team in Marrakech today when Gabriele Tarquini achieved the ambitions of the whole team by taking a fighting second place overall in the second round of the WTCC.


Tarquini started Race 1 from the pole position he secured with a stunning fastest lap in yesterday’s timed qualification. This made the experienced Italian the highest scoring pole position driver in the 9 year history of the World Touring Car Championship, taking his tally to 16 pole positions.


Having been rewarded at the first race weekend at Monza with the third place trophy and having set the Civic’s first pole position of the campaign here in Morocco, the experienced Italian led the first half of Race 1 this weekend and finished the 13 lap battle in a very close second place to Denmark’s Michel Nykjaer.

“I pushed as hard as I could but from the front it is always difficult. It is just a very small place and he got past but I was close to him at the end,” said a happy Gabriele to the applause of the team.


However the emotions took a different turn half-way through the second race of the weekend when the number 3 Civic collided with the wall and his race was over. Having started Race 2 from the fifth row as the grids are reversed for the top 10 qualifiers, Tarquini had passed four cars into sixth place before the accident.

“It is tough to be really challenging at this level,” said Team Director, Alessandro Mariani, “but pole position and second place shows the great potential we have. The season is a very busy timetable with many races and we must try to keep up with our development plans in between those races. I’m sad for Gabriele as he was sixth also in Race 2 when he went out so we would have collected more points.”

After the dramatic climatic conditions at the start of the race weekend which curtailed testing and altered the qualification schedule, race day reflected typical Morocco: blue skies and sunshine beating down on the estimated 70,000 enthusiastic spectators attending certainly the biggest motorsport event in the country. Track temperature climbed above 20C, another factor that had to be taken into consideration by the Castrol Honda race engineers.

Race day stated early for the teams with the 15 minute warm-up. This was to be a useful trial for the Honda Civic of Tiago Monteiro following his contact with the wall in Saturday’s qualifying. Honda Racing Team JAS mechanics worked late into the night to fit a new front suspension unit and a completely new rear axle assembly. The car was looking immaculate as the session started and Tiago tested the car in the few minutes available. He started Race 1 from the seventh row. Having made up four places by half distance unfortunately a collision with the high and hard ramparts around the circuit caused substantial damage to Tiago’s Civic forcing retirement.


WTCC World Touring Car Championship
Round 02: Morocco

Race 1
Rank Drivers (Team)
1 Michel Nykjaer (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
2 Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Civic WTCC)
3 James Nash (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
4 Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
5 Rob Huff (Seat Leon WTCC)
6 Alex Macdowall (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
RT Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC)
RT Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC)
Race 2
Rank Drivers (Team)
1 Pepe Oriola (SEAT Leon WTCC)
2 Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
3 Tom Chilton (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
4 James Nash (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
5 Marc Basseng (SEAT Leon WTCC)
6 Tom Coronel (BMW 320 TC)
15 Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC)
RT Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Civic WTCC)

Honda Civic Takes First WTCC Podium at Monza

The Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team secured the season’s first podium in the WTCC with Gabriele Tarquini taking a fighting 3rd place in race 2 at a very wet Monza in Italy.

race side

Starting from 5th position for the second race of the event, the experienced Italian made a stunning start to be in second place by the time the grid reached the first chicane. Using the road holding capabilities of the Honda Civic WTCC to the full Tarquini drove around the pole position driver Darryl O’Young to lead the field at the end of the first lap by 1.5 seconds. Race 1 winner Yvan Muller was already cutting through the field from 10th on the grid and he overhauled Gabriele on lap 4.

Tiago Monteiro also made a storming start from 13th position on the grid to move up 4 places on lap 1 and also gain a place on each of the next two laps and to move into 8th place by lap 5 of the 10 lap race.

race leon

By lap 6 the number 3 Honda Civic WTCC was under pressure from Michael Nykjaer which took the position on lap 7. Tarquini bravely re-passed around the outside of the Lesmo Curve but Nykjaer squeezed past again at the Ascari complex. With rain still soaking the track Gabriele held on for a close 3rd place to the delight of the Castrol Honda team waving from the pit wall.

Tiago brought his Honda Civic WTCC home safely in 8th place after another strong drive in extremely difficult conditions. “I want to start higher up the grid in future and then we can look to collect more points in the Championship,” said a smiling Monteiro at the finish.


Following the traditional champagne podium Tarquini attended the post-race press conference and was very optimistic for the prospects of further results for the Civic this season. “As we are today some tracks will suit us more than others but for sure we have a lot of development opportunities to come which can see us gaining in performance all the time. It is my first event in the Civic and my first podium which is great. This result is my present to the team, our Japanese Italian team who have worked so hard to get the Civic on the track and competitive. This is for all the team, all the engineers and all the Honda people,” said Tarquini. “ We will go to Marrakesh for a new challenge, every year that track seems to have something different, changed kerbs, changed surfaces in paces so it is always difficult but I think the Honda will be good there.”


Tarquini is 3rd in the WTCC Drivers Championship with 28 points, Monteiro is 6th with14 points and Honda leads the WTCC Manufacturers Championship with 94 points.


WTCC World Touring Car Championship
Round 01: Italy

Provisional Results Race 2 Monza
Rank Drivers (Team)
1 Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
2 Michel Nykjaer (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
3 Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Civic WTCC)
4 Marc Basseng (SEAT Leon WTCC)
5 Tom Chilton (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
6 Pepe Oriola (SEAT Leon WTCC)
7 James Nash (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T )
8 Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC)
9 Stefano D’Aste (BMW 320 TC)
10 Ron Huff (SEAT Leon WTCC)
Provisional Results Race 1 Monza
Rank Drivers (Team)
1 Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T )
2 Tom Chilton (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
3 Alex Macdowall (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
4 Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Civic WTCC)
5 Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC )
6 Rob Huff (SEAT Leon WTCC)
7 James Nash (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)
8 Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC)
9 Tom Coronel (BMW 320 TC)
10 Freddy Barth (BMW 320 TC)

Honda unveils Castrol as its title WTCC sponsor

The past 20th March Honda announced that Castrol, the world famous high-performance lubricant brand, will be the title sponsor of its factory team in the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship. The sponsorship deal, unveiled at the FIA’s WTCC media presentation in Turin, Italy this morning, heralds a new team name – Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team – as well as an exciting green, white and red livery for the Civic WTCC.


At the same presentation Honda also announced that international automotive supplier, the Brose Group, will join Castrol as co-sponsors.


The new team’s stylish 2013 livery aims to accentuate the lines of the new Civic, as well as reflect the corporate colors of Castrol – red and green on white. As a symbol of the strong spirit of the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team, the color scheme also incorporates Honda’s own colors, as well as colors from the Italian and Portuguese flags to represent the nationality of J.A.S. Motorsport and drivers Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro.