Tiago Monteiro finished in the top ten in both races on the penultimate weekend of racing in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in Shanghai, China. The Portuguese driver, who is sponsored by Brose, is now third in the overall standings and so is still in the race for second in the drivers’ championship. However, Tiago did not manage to capture a spot on the rostrum. The ex-Formula 1 pilot crossed in the line in tenth in the Opening Race and came eighth in the Main Race.
It was apparent from qualifying that he would not be in a position to contend for victory in both races, finishing just 14th in his Honda Civic, which was carrying 60 kilograms of compensation weight. “Our performance in qualifying was frustrating,” said Tiago. “However, we knew it would be difficult because our car has problems on the long straights here and we weren’t able to exploit its strengths in handling and balance like on other tracks. Moreover, very many cars did not have any compensation weight at all this weekend. I made a mistake on my last lap when trying to make up for that disadvantage.”
Rocket of a start by Tiago
However, Tiago was able to rely on his starting qualities in both races. In the Opening Race, the 40-year-old moved up several positions right away, despite the fact that his vehicle suffered some damage to its rear early on. In the final phase, however, this handicap made itself strongly felt, with the result that he finished behind his teammate Rob Huff in the tussle for ninth and had to be content with tenth spot. Nobert Michelisz, the third Honda works pilot, came second, only losing out to the Swede Thed Björk (Volvo).
Tiago also demonstrated his exceptional abilities over the first few meters of the Main Race and got off to a real rocket of a start. From 14th on the grid again, he virtually flew past his rivals and was soon among the top ten. He was even able to move up to eighth and so cross the line as best Honda pilot. The race was won by the Argentinean Jose-Maria Lopez (Citroen), who had already captured the drivers’ championship.
Tiago: “We gave our best”
“We gave our best. But it’s tough when you start from just 14th. We got into the points by finishing tenth and eighth. However, it wasn’t want we wanted,” was how Tiago summed things up on Twitter after the races. Monteiro has lost a little ground in the battle for second place in the drivers’ championship after the weekend on the Shanghai International Circuit: Yvan Muller, his fiercest rival, was able to open up a gap thanks to his two placements on the rostrum and now has a 31-point lead.
Since the weekend of racing in Thailand that was originally planned for the beginning of November is to be canceled, Tiago only has the two end-of-season World Championship races in Qatar on November 25 to catch up. We wish him lots of success.