Tiago Monteiro again captured a place on the winner’s rostrum for the fourth weekend of racing in a row and so continued his string of successes in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in Marrakesh. He finished third and fourth to pick up further important points in the battle for the drivers’ championship. The Portuguese pilot, who is sponsored by Brose, remains in second after eight out of 24 races.
And the weekend in Morocco was not only extremely successful for Monteiro personally, but for his Honda team as well. In the Opening Race, Monteiro crossed the line in fourth, followed by his two teammates Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) and Rob Huff (UK) in fifth and sixth. The Japanese works team then even celebrated a historic triple success in the Main Race: Huff won it ahead of Michelisz and Monteiro. That meant three Honda works drivers were on the podium for the first time in the WTCC’s history.
Monteiro proud of his team
“We as a team absolutely deserved this success. It’s the result of all the hard work we’ve done since the beginning of the year,” said Monteiro. The weekend of racing could not have got off to a better start for the Honda pilots. Huff won the qualifying on Saturday and so captured pole in the Main Race. Michelisz and Monteiro came second and third. The three drivers capitalized uncompromisingly on their ideal starting position on the city circuit and finished the races in places one to three.
“It was fantastic being part of a triple success in qualifying,” said a delighted Tiago. “And, of course, it’s even more fantastic that we went on to triumph in the Main race as well.” Yet the second race did not start so well for the ex-Formula 1 pilot. In continuous rain, Monteiro lost his third place to Jose-Maria Lopez (Citroen) on the very first meters. However, he then put the Argentinean pilot under such great pressure that the latter made a mistake on lap five. With all his experience, Monteiro seized the opportunity and slipped past Lopez into third.
Lopez driven to make the mistake
“At the start I had to contend with spinning wheels in the adverse conditions and lost my place to Jose-Maria Lopez,” said Monteiro. “But then I exerted great pressure on him during the first half of the race and he made a mistake, giving me just the space I needed to pass him. The main objective after that was to keep focused until the finish in the poor weather.”
The 39-year-old displayed his driving skills in the Opening Race, which was won by Tom Coronel (Chevrolet), moving up from eighth on the grid to cross the line in fourth. He even almost managed to climb to third, but in the end missed out by a little more than three tenths of a second. Nevertheless, Monteiro can be more than satisfied with his results in Morocco. He now has 124 points in the drivers’ championship, just 14 behind Lopez. He is followed in third and fourth by his teammates Huff (98) and Michelisz (85).
The next two races on the agenda are on the Nürburgring’s North Loop course on May 28. We wish Tiago every success again.