Gabriele Tarquini has spoken of his joy after taking his first race victory of 2013 and Honda's first in the FIA World Touring Car Championship since 2008.
Tarquini dominated race one at the Slovakia Ring on Sunday [see separate story
] and afterwards he explained why the triumph means so much.
“I was really emotional at the end of the first race,” he told the official WTCC site. “I regard this car like a baby; I'm its father, Tiago [Monterio] looked after it for some races but now it has come back to me. The car is very important to me, sorry to the two other Honda drivers, but I really think of myself as the father of the Civic.”
Now 51-years-old, Tarquini explained how the car felt after the race and what its strengths and weaknesses are.
“The car is fantastic to drive; the tyre wear, braking and engine are all good,” added the former British champ. “Acceleration and power aren't quite as good as the Chevrolet but we knew that on a normal track we'd be a lot more competitive than in the first two circuits.”
Despite an extensive winter and pre-season testing programme, Tarquini concedes that the quest for improvements is not over yet.
“This was the first track where we have tested in the past and we knew it would be good. We improved a little in every session – for example, we discovered that today on a demanding track with high temperatures, our car was good right until the end. We have to go on from here with our Japanese and Italian team members working together to be even more competitive,” he continued.
Meanwhile, in the second race, Tarquini finished in third place behind race winner, Tom Coronel and championship rival, Yvan Muller, who leads the Italian by 24 points going into the next round at the Hungaroring in Budapest next weekend.
by Dexter Fielding