Two weeks after his first podium of the season, Tiago Monteiro was not able to capture a top-ten placement on the penultimate weekend of racing in the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR). The Portuguese pilot, who is sponsored by Brose, nevertheless managed to finish in the points twice on the MotorLand Aragon track. However, the priority for Tiago in this crucial phase of the title race was to help his teammate Esteban Guerrieri. The Argentinean was second in the drivers’ championship going into the weekend in Northeastern Spain, 22 points behind the leader Yann Ehrlacher (Lynk & Co.).
“We’re here to play the team game and to take Esteban to the title,” said Tiago. “So in races one and two it was a matter of finding the right time for me to exchange positions with him.” The 44-year-old also noted that the car felt good. “I was very happy and felt very quick considering not everything went in our favor this weekend,” added Tiago.
It was already clear from qualifying that the Honda pilots from the ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport team would have their difficulties on this track. Tiago qualified for the first race in 14th. Guerrieri, who was forced to carry a compensation weight of 60 kilograms due to his good placement in the drivers’ championship, only qualified in 19th and so had an awful starting position for the first race. Nevertheless, also with Tiago’s assistance, he still managed to get among the points, crossing the line in 13th directly ahead of Tiago.
Monteiro is able to keep pace with the top ten
The second race in Aragon went pretty much the same. Tiago, who was able to match the top ten drivers for pace in the first race, finally finished 12th, two spots behind Guerrieri. Tiago knew beforehand that the Honda pilots would not be able to contend for places on the podium on this track. “We couldn't really challenge the leading drivers. But we knew that was going to be the case. That’s the way it is going to be on some tracks on the racing calendar,” said the ex-Formula 1 pilot.
Whereas he was still able to get among the points in the first two races, he was forced to retire shortly after the start of the third. On the way to the grid, he felt something snap, said Tiago: “It's not clear exactly what is was, but it was a mechanical issue on the front axle.”
Even though the track was not to the liking of the Honda pilot, Guerrieri lost only four points over his rival for the title and is now 26 points behind Ehrlacher. However, it will probably be very difficult to catch him: The final weekend of racing will not be as planned on the Adria International Raceway in Italy, but in Aragon again. Hopefully Tiago and his teammates will come to terms better with the conditions there at the season’s finale in two weeks’ time.