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Termas de Rio Hondo

WTCC: Tiago defends second place in the overall standings

Termas de Rio Hondo, 2016-07-08

On the first weekend of racing after the summer break, Tiago Monteiro narrowly failed to win a spot on the rostrum in both races, but nevertheless picked up enough points to defend his second place in the drivers’ championship in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). The Portuguese pilot, who is sponsored by Brose, finished fourth both times in Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina. As a result, he added 24 more points to his tally and now leads third-placed Yvan Muller (Citroen) by seven points after 16 out of 24 races.

“There are positives and negatives to take from this weekend. The positives are that I’ve had two solid fourth places and that I’m still second in the drivers’ championship with only four rounds left, and that the race pace of the car is very good,” said the Honda pilot. “The main negative is that from third on the Opening Race grid, my aim was to win, and I didn’t achieve that,” added Monteiro.

Excellent start

An excellent start enabled Tiago to move up one position in the very first bend and capture second spot. However, he then left the track on a dirty patch in the third bend as he was waging a thrilling tussle for the lead with Tom Chilton (Citroen). “I gave him a little room to avoid contact,” said Tiago. “But then I had a big slide on the dirty part of the circuit and let quite a few drivers pass me. It’s a shame, but you have to try these things; sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.”

All the same, Tiago, who celebrated his 40th birthday two weeks before the event, was able to make a lot of places good after the slip. He finally crossed the line in fourth, just a little more than one second behind the third-placed finisher. His Honda teammate Rob Huff came second behind Chilton (both UK).

From eighth on the grid to fourth

Tiago also produced an impressive effort to catch up in the second race. Starting from eighth on the grid, he was able to pick off drivers in the field ahead of him. However, he also benefited from the fact that his teammate Norbert Michelisz left the track briefly after a hard maneuver by Muller and dropped back to eighth. Tiago took the checkered flag in fourth after moving up a total of four places in the race. His teammate Huff again won a spot on the rostrum by finishing third. The race was won by local hero and world championship leader Jose-Maria Lopez (Citroen).

Not only Tiago, but also the Honda works team can be satisfied with their haul in Argentina: All three pilots got into the points in both races, with the result that Honda was able to commandingly defend its second place in the manufacturers’ championship. The next two races will be held in Motegi, Japan, on September 4. We wish Tiago and his team every success again.

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