With the 2013 FIA WTCC season nearing to a close, Honda is the second manufacturer to outline its driver pairing with the JAS Castrol factory team concern for 2014, when new regulations come into force for the series.

As expected, 2009 world champion Gabriele Tarquini and four time race winner Tiago Monteiro have been retained by the Japanese manufacturer to develop and race the new 2014 spec car, which looks set to be an evolution of the current Civic - although an Accord has also been rumoured to be a potential car of choice from the marque.

Tarquini will be looking to consolidate his second position in the championship and targeting more wins and Monteiro will be looking to back up his recent podium form for a top ten overall championship finish.

Honda's General Motorsport manager, Hideo Sato, spoke of his high praise for the two former F1 drivers and expressed his hopes for a competitive 2014.

"Always with a new car and a new programme there are many areas to work on and always we are against the clock," said Sato. "Thanks to the driving skill, experience and technical knowledge of Gabriele and Tiago and their hard work with the team, we have made great progress very quickly this year.

"They have both been fighting to get the Honda Civic WTCC into the results and to have won two races outright and many podium positions is a great result," he continued. "For 2014, I expect the regulation changes will create an exciting and dynamic racing season.

"I am confident that our two experienced drivers, who have intimate knowledge of the Civic, will be key to our success. I am very pleased to have them in the Honda Racing family for 2014 which will be another competitive season for sure."

Tarquini, a former Team Auto-Delta Alfa Romeo driver, is happy to continue his long association with Honda.

"I am proud of the long relationship I have had with Honda, from the British Touring Car Championship times until today," said the determined Italian. "We have such a good team spirit and everybody is working for one thing and that is to win the races.

"We have developed this car into a winner and soon we will start with the 2014 car so to see Honda renew its confidence in me is a great reward" he added.

Meanwhile, Monteiro is already looking forward to next season, which is set to start in late April to allow development of the new spec cars.

"It is a great honour for me to have been involved in this project since the beginning and actively participate in the development of the Honda Civic WTCC which has become a highly competitive and winning car," declared the Portuguese racer. "Working with the whole Honda Team is a privilege at all levels. For 2014 I want to continue the good work we have been developing with the team and Gabriele and achieve many more podiums. I'm already looking forward to the start of the new season."

With the full works team confirming their program for 2014, the Hungarian backed Zengo Motorsport team will also continue as Honda's 'B' team next season with Norbert Michelisz is set to stay behind the wheel and a possible second car still to be confirmed. [See separate story.]

by Dexter Fielding



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