Tiago Monteiro showed he had recovered well after his serious accident on the Nürburgring two weeks ago and picked up points in both races on the Moscow Raceway on the sixth weekend of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). The Portuguese pilot, who is sponsored by Brose, would even have had the chance of winning, but the adverse weather conditions thwarted that. In heavy rain, the 39-year-old had to settle for sixth place in the Opening Race after starting from pole position. In the Main Race, Tiago fought his way up from tenth on the grid to finish fifth.
“After starting from pole in the first race, I had a good feeling and thought we could drive to victory,” said Tiago. “But then it suddenly began pouring down on the formation lap. In those wet conditions, it felt as if you were driving on ice.” The ex-Formula 1 pilot tried to make the best out of the sudden deterioration in conditions, but lost his lead shortly after the start.
Monteiro at odds with the weather
In the end he managed to cross the line in sixth with his Honda Civic and so capture eight points for the drivers’ championship. “Sixth spot isn’t all that bad in these poor conditions. But I’m sure I’d have won if it had stayed dry,” said Monteiro to express his annoyance with the weather gods. His two teammates Rob Huff (UK) and Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) came seventh and tenth respectively. The race was won by the Italian Gabriele Tarquini in a Lada.
In the Main Race, Tiago gave an indication of what would have been possible in the first race if the conditions had not been quite so adverse. With the track drying out, he got off to a perfect start and soon picked off a few drivers ahead of him. He took the checkered flag in fifth and so added a further ten points to his total haul. His two Honda teammates finished ahead of him: Huff came fourth and Michelisz, who was given a controversial drive-through penalty because his starting position was not fully in compliance with the rules, finished third to gain a place on the rostrum. Nick Catsburg, likewise in a Lada, won the second race.
“A good effort to catch up”
Tiago was happy with his performance in the Main Race. “The track was still damp in this race, but not as wet as in the first,” he said. “We also made a few changes to the car in the break and they were to pay off. It was a good effort to catch up from tenth to fifth.” All in all, however, Monteiro said it had been a “missed opportunity.” With slightly better placements, he and his Honda teammates could have capitalized on the weakness of the Citroën pilots headed by championship leader Jose-Maria Lopez, who likewise suffered under the adverse conditions.
As a result, Tiago has to be content with fourth place in the drivers’ championship midway through the season after six out of twelve weekends of racing. However, he is still the best Honda pilot and is only six points off second spot. He can close that gap in two weeks’ time when he is on his home turf on the city circuit in Vila Real, Portugal, on June 26. We wish him lots of success.