Although Tiago Monteiro, the Portuguese pilot who is sponsored by Brose, missed out on the possibility of a place on the winners’ rostrum in Le Castellet on an eventful weekend, he demonstrated spectacular maneuvers in both races. On the seventh weekend of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), he was lying second in race two when he was forced to withdraw after an accident. As a result, he had to be satisfied with seventh place and six points from the first race on the Paul Ricard Circuit. He held on to fourth spot in the drivers’ championship and is still the best Honda pilot in the standings.
“All in all, I’m quite happy with the weekend. We made further progress here, too. Our race pace was good and we made improvements throughout the weekend,” said Tiago, who started the first race from seventh on the grid. The ex-Formula 1 pilot slipped back a spot at the start, but then gave his all to work his way through the field. A fierce and spectacular duel with the French driver Hugo Valente in a Chevrolet ensued.
At the end of lap three, Tiago was able to make the decisive maneuver and squeeze past the local hero at the beginning of the start-finish straight. When Valente tried to counterattack, he slid off the track, crashed into a tire wall and had to retire after returning to the pits with his damaged car. Yet moving up into seventh was not enough for Tiago, as he set about chasing Norbert Michelisz, likewise in a Honda. Right to the end he tried everything to pass the Hungarian, but it was not quite enough: Tiago crossed the line in seventh, a wafer-thin margin of 0.254 seconds behind Michelisz.
Strong start by Tiago
Monteiro would also play a major role in the second race. Starting from fourth, he moved up two positions in the early stages and was second up to lap seven. However, he was then involved with the Argentinean Jose Maria Lopez in a tussle that would have serious consequences. The Citröen driver wanted to pass Tiago on the outside, but the Portuguese pilot put up stiff resistance. The two vehicles touched each other and Tiago spun off the track. His Honda Civic was so badly damaged that, unlike Lopez, he was no longer able to continue.
“I got a good start and, whilst I knew it would be tough to keep ahead of the opposition for the full 16 laps, I gave it everything I could,” said Tiago. “I was really enjoying the race until the incident with Lopez. That was really frustrating because I had driven a good race up to then and me and Norbi were looking good to chalk up a 1-2 for Honda.” Tiago does not have much time to get over his annoyance: races 15 and 16 are coming up in Vila Real, Portugal, in two weeks – a home race for Monteiro, who was born just 100 kilometers away in Porto. We wish him lots of success.