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Tiago gets off to a successful start to his comeback season

Marrakech, 04-07-2019

Tiago Monteiro had waited a long time for this moment. More than one-and-a-half years after his serious accident in a test drive in Barcelona, he embarked on the new season of the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) last weekend. After he made a return to the series for one weekend of racing in Suzuka last year, the Portuguese driver, who is sponsored by Brose, aims to compete in all the races this season. “I’m so excited about this weekend, which really closes a tough chapter in my life,” said Tiago before the season got under way.

On the street circuit in Marrakesh, Morocco, the 42-year-old proved that he can contend with the world’s best right away, despite his long break. In the first three races of the new season, Tiago captured 20 points for his Honda team KCMG and so is in a fine ninth place in the overall standings after the first port of call in the WTCR. “I’m pleased with my car’s speed and with my own performance,” said Tiago. “I’ve proved that I’m back and that feels really good.”

The ex-Formula 1 pilot was able to claim a top-ten spot in qualifying and took eighth place on the grid for the first race. Things went even better in the race for Tiago, who captured top spot on the winner’s rostrum in Marrakesh in 2017: After 18 laps on the almost three-kilometer street circuit, he took the checkered flag in sixth – a mere five seconds behind the winner Esteban Guerrieri (Honda).

Tiago fights his way back

Starting in seventh in the second race, Tiago initially fell back two places after some fierce jostling for position. But then he yet again demonstrated that he still has all his old driving skills and moved up one position by the end – also because he kept out of precarious situations on the tight track: “I didn’t take any risks in Race Two because I knew I had a very good chance of a place on the podium in Race Three.”

That was because he was fourth on the grid in the final race of the first weekend of competition. Yet, unfortunately, the dream of putting the icing on his comeback was not fulfilled for Tiago. Shortly after the start, he was involved in a collision with two rivals, after which he had to retire in his Honda Civic. “The first lap was very scrappy,” said Tiago. “I was hit five or six times and got a little damage. Two other cars were either side of me at Turn Seven and it was too tight, so that was it: race over.”

Despite being forced to withdraw, Tiago got off to a highly promising start to the season and is already looking forward to the next challenge. “I’m feeling good for Hungary,” he stressed, looking ahead to the next station in the World Touring Car Cup.