Although Tiago Monteiro was not able to repeat his triumph in Moscow on the Slovakia Ring, he demonstrated his extra-special class in both races on Sunday. On the sixth weekend of racing in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), the Portuguese pilot, who is sponsored by Brose, finished among the top ten in both races despite starting from 17th in them. He crossed the line in eighth and ninth respectively to pick up valuable points in the drivers’ championship and so defend his fourth place in the overall standings. “In view of the difficulty we had in qualifying, I’m very happy with my results today,” said Tiago.
He had to bury any hopes of taking his second win of the season in qualifying. The Honda pilot failed to reach the Q2 stage on Saturday and only came 17th. “That’s naturally very disappointing, especially because I had a nice balance with the car. Something went really wrong,” stated Tiago afterwards. Curiously enough, his disappointment was probably connected, at least indirectly, to his success two weeks ago in Russia: after his victory, the Honda cars were forced to carry 60kg of compensation weight, which likely prevented Tiago from clocking a faster time. The aim of this additional ballast for winning pilots is to ensure that things are evened up for the competition in the WTCC.
Tiago moves up nine spots
However, the ex-Formula 1 pilot channeled his frustration into additional motivation in the races. Seething with anger, he produced a perfect start in the first race, immediately overtaking several rivals. He had fought his way up into eleventh by the seventh lap and was directly behind the Hungarian driver Norbert Michelisz, likewise in a Honda, who then had to withdraw a little later with tire damage. However, Tiago continued to maneuver his way up the field and managed to cross the line in eighth, i.e. finished up by overtaking more than half of the rivals who had started ahead of him.
Tiago also got off to a similarly furious start in the second race. He was again able to improve his position quickly and was soon involved in the battle to get into the points. Michelisz also experienced how aggressively Tiago set about moving up the field. The two Honda pilots briefly touched each other in the battle for places, but were able to continue the race. The Hungarian finished a hair’s breadth in front of the Portuguese pilot, who still picked up two points for the drivers’ championship by coming ninth.
“It was tough for me to assess how quickly I could have driven because I was always involved in fights for position,” said Tiago. “Still, I’m very happy with what we achieved today. I was able to make a lot of places good after starting from 17th. When you start so far back on the grid and still get into the points, that gives you a boost.” The 38-year-old remains in fourth, and so the best Honda pilot, in the overall standings at the season’s midway point. The second half of the season begins next weekend with races 13 and 14 on the Paul Ricard Circuit in France. We wish him every success again.