Tiago Monteiro has chalked up a very special success with his third place on the Nürburgring’s North Loop course. In the premiere of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) on the legendary track in the Eifel, the Portuguese pilot, who is sponsored by Brose, captured a place on the podium in the second race and so was able to defend his fourth place in the overall standings. The Honda pilot suffered bad luck in the first race when he was forced to withdraw through no fault of his own.
“The North Loop is great and I really enjoyed myself,” said the 38-year-old. He had already driven on the Nürburgring as a Formula 1 pilot in 2005 and 2006, but only on the five-kilometer Grand Prix circuit. However, last Saturday the drivers in the WTCC lined up on the more than 25-kilometer North Loop, one of the world’s longest racing tracks. Tiago started the first race from eighth on the grid, but was unfortunately not able to finish. He got caught up in an accident of a rival and had to give up after the second of the three laps due to tire damage. Jose-Maria Lopez crossed the line first in a Citröen.
From pole position
Tiago was in pole position for the second race. His Honda teammate Gabriele Tarquini started directly behind him. Whereas the Italian was overtaken right away by Yvan Muller (Citröen) with a brusque attack, Monteiro was able to hold on to the lead initially thanks to a brilliant start. However, he was then forced to succumb to the French driver’s attacks shortly before the end of lap one.
“At the start I pulled away and was able to push quite hard. I was feeling confident. It's the best I’ve felt all weekend,” said Tiago, who was also very satisfied with the balance of his Honda Civic. “After Yvan overtook me, I kept pushing because I could see he was a bit nervous and he made one or two small mistakes. You have to give your all right to the end here because so many things can happen on the North Loop,” added Tiago.
On the podium for the second time
However, he could not overtake Muller and also had to let Lopez pass him shortly before the finish. “When I saw him pass my teammate, I hoped I would escape. But he caught me before the braking,” is how Monteiro described the situation at the Döttinger Höhe section. He therefore finished in a good third spot to capture a place on the rostrum for the second time this season.
He picked up a further 15 points in the driver’s championship and defended his fourth place as the best Honda driver. He now has a total of 73 points, nine ahead of the fifth-placed pilot. The fifth weekend of racing in the WTCC season is now on the agenda in Moscow on June 7. We wish Tiago every success again there.