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WTCR: Tiago survives accident unscathed

Ningbo, 09-15-2019

The seventh weekend of racing in the World Touring Car Cup went anything but how Tiago Monteiro had wanted. After his triumphant home victory in Vila Real at the beginning of July, the Portuguese pilot, who is sponsored by Brose, was frequently involved in fierce tussles for position in the WTCR races in Ningbo. In the third race he was no longer able to get out of the way of an attack by Mehdi Bennani (Volkswagen) and slammed into the side barrier at high speed.

“I survived the accident unscathed,” said the 43-year-old, but also admitted after giving the all-clear: “That’s the best thing I can say about this weekend of racing.” He added that he had felt a heavy blow during the collision with Bennani on lap six. “I then underwent a thorough medical check, but it didn’t find anything wrong.” Whereas Monteiro was not able to complete the race as a result, the driver who caused the accident was given a drive-through penalty.

Following his victory in Portugal before the summer break, Tiago was in a very confident mood going to Ningbo, where he had never competed in a touring car race before. There were already signs in training that he and his Hungarian KCMG teammate Attila Tassi, for whom the track in Ningbo was likewise new ground, would be competitive – at least if the times of the two Honda pilots in the two training units were anything to go by.

Tiago gets off to a dream start in the first race

Tiago then also managed to produce a dream start in the first race. In the very first bends, the ex-Formula 1 pilot was able to move up a few places and into the points, also passing Nestor Girolami, who was likewise in a Honda. “I had a very good start and also overtook Bebu. I must have been in around 14th or 15th at the time,” said Tiago. Yet the race was as good as over for him just a little later.

“A lot of cars left the track at the sixth bend. When they came back onto it, my car was virtually hit all over,” explained Tiago: “The control unit was also affected, which is why I was no longer able to make any major leaps forward.” He finally had to settle for crossing the line in 21st. However, he was at least able to finish the first race – whereas the second was soon over for him. He was again the victim of a collision with several cars and was forced to retire with his Honda Civic to the garage a little later.

“I was hit very, very often in all three races,” was Tiago’s sobering verdict after the weekend in Ningbo. “It’s frustrating that we seem to be back to where we were in Slovakia and the Netherlands. I had hoped to avoid the chaos. But it wasn’t possible.” The next races are in Japan on the final weekend in October. We wish Tiago more luck and every success.