Honda’s troubled build-up to its home round in Japan continues with confirmation that local hero Ryo Michigami will start Sunday’s Opening Race from the back of the grid.

The Japanese driver has been forced to change his engine following a formal request submitted by the Honda Racing Team JAS squad. Under the World Touring Car Championship’s rules that require a single engine to last the entire season, Michigami will be sent to the rear of the grid.

The 44-year-old, who has had an inconsistent maiden season in the WTCC, ran a promising third-fastest in Saturday’s rescheduled first practice session behind Honda teammate Norbert Michelisz and Polestar Cyan Racing’s Nicky Catsburg.

Michigami had been a promising third fastest in a wet first free practice session, just behind team-mate Norbert Michelisz with the Volvo of Nicky Catsburg second fastest in the Volvo.

Honda arrives at its home track under major pressure for a strong weekend in Japan, following confirmation that all of its cars were excluded from the previous Race of China round for running non-compliant fuel injectors.

Image via FIA WTCC Media

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.