Tiago Monteiro feels Honda can be proud of the way it has closed the gap down to Citroen as he looks to give the manufacturer a strong result on home soil at Suzuka.

Honda scored its first WTCC win of the season last time out in Shanghai, albeit achieved by Mehdi Bennani in the satellite Proteam Civic, with Monteiro finishing behind him in second place.

Coming in a year that has seen series debutants Citroen dominate under the new TC1 regulations, Monteiro nonetheless feels the Castrol-backed Honda team has made good steps forward and is subsequently eyeing a fitting result in Japan.

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"I cannot comment on the performances of other drivers, but I know that we changed some things after the first race and that the car improved a lot", the former F1 driver said. "It means a lot to come second, and if we look back at this season in which we've successfully caught up with the competition there are some tweaks that in hindsight we would have made to the car earlier.

"It's great that we have got to such a strong position now, and this gives us a lot of confidence for the remaining races."