Monteiro expects Honda to struggle at Monza

WTCC championship leader Tiago Monteiro is bracing himself for a trying weekend at Monza, with the long straights likely to expose the inherent disadvantages of Honda's Civic hatchback.

Monteiro expects Honda to struggle at Monza
Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Nicky Catsburg, Polestar Cyan Racing, Volvo S60 Polestar TC1
Tom Chilton, Sébastien Loeb Racing, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Thed Björk, Polestar Cyan Racing, Volvo S60 Polestar TC1

After struggling for pace in pre-season testing, Honda turned the tables in the opening round of the season, with Monteiro leading a Honda 1-2 finish in Marrakesh.

However, the Portuguese driver insists that a repeat of Morocco performance is unlikely at Monza, and his focus will be on extracting maximum points to keep himself in the championship battle.

“We arrive at Monza in the best possible position; leading the championship and with a car free of compensation weight,” said Monteiro.

“But I think this could be a hard weekend because, by default, a hatchback, like the Civic, is at a disadvantage to the saloon-bodied cars at tracks like Monza with very long straights.

“I think we'll just have to take every point we can get and be satisfied. But the team have worked incredibly hard over the winter to improve the aero package, and develop the engine into the best it’s ever been.”

Bjork chasing “dream” Volvo 1-2-3 finish

With Honda likely to be out of contention this weekend, Thed Bjork believes Monza presents the perfect opportunity for Volvo to secure a "dream" 1-2-3 finish, but is wary of the challenge from Citroen. 

“We need to be ahead of Honda at Monza, but let’s not forget the Citroens,” he said. “They are really strong here as well.

"This track should suit us better than Marrakech and Hungaroring for example, and we need to deliver where we are strong. My dream scenario this weekend is a 1-2-3 in the main race.”

Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes 

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