James Thompson was unable to secure any points for N.Technology as the Italian squad debuted its Honda Accord in the first European round of the World Touring Car Championship season in Valencia.

The team elected to miss the flyaway events in Mexico and Brazil to get to grips with the JAS Motorsport-built machine but went into the weekend having completed just five days of running with the Honda during testing.

The weekend saw Thompson embroiled in a number of heated battles on track which ultimately left him outside the top ten in both races although the Briton wasn't helped by the weight carried on the car.

Despite that, a solid start to race one from eleventh on the grid saw Thompson climb up into the points on the opening lap but he soon found himself under pressure from the following pack, with Andy Priaulx battling past before contact from Tiago Monteiro saw him slip down to twelfth. When Monteiro was given a 30 second penalty for the incident, Thompson took the flag in eleventh place.

Starting race two from that position, Thompson again found himself as something of a target for other drivers and he ended the race in the position he started in leaving him outside the points in both races.

"When I was hit by Andy it just wasn't an overtaking place and it was the same with Tiago," he said. "It's frustrating because the first laps went really well and I was up to seventh. It would be a fantastic reward for all the effort the team has put in on this car to have started the second race from the front row and have a chance to fight for the podium.

"I had to defend a lot in the first part of the race but I was holding onto the position, it's just a shame that we lost out not because of any mistake on my part but because of what other drivers were doing.

"From eleventh on the grid in the second race it was always going to be a big ask to get make much progress. Yet again my fellow competitors used my race car as their braking point and I was hit several times during the race. Valencia was not a good weekend for us."

Team principal Mauro Sipsz admitted that the weight of the Accord had worked against Thompson at a circuit where he won twice last season in the Alfa Romeo and said he was hopeful that changes would be made to bring the Honda closer to the pace.

"For me racing is about winning as we have done many, many times before," he said. "Our debut has been handicapped due to our weight. Our competitors today have enjoyed racing with weight dispensations, unlike us. The weight issue, has negative consequences in many different areas and obviously effects our overall performance.

"This weekend it was never a realistic possibility to have success based on the fact that we had no weight reduction unlike our racing colleagues. I hope that authorities will take the appropriate action so N.Technology can show case its hard work, and the true potential of the Honda Accord Euro R Super 2000."


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