Tiago Monteiro was delighted at the chance to get acquainted with the long version of the Brands Hatch circuit this weekend for the 9th meeting of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). Once he got started on the historic English track, ...
Tiago Monteiro was delighted at the chance to get acquainted with the long version of the Brands Hatch circuit this weekend for the 9th meeting of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). Once he got started on the historic English track, formerly a linchpin in F1 competition, the Portuguese driver was not disappointed, putting the SEAT Leon No. 18 car in the spotlight during the free test sessions, by showing himself to be the fastest in the SEAT Sport delegation.
Tiago kept it up in qualifying where, in front of FIA President Max Mosley himself, he recorded the 4th best time, and once again was the leader of the SEAT Sport team. "Throughout the tests my SEAT Leon was fast and well-balanced, with only a slight tendency towards understeer. It is simply very difficult and very harmful to have been blocked by Krylov during my fastest lap as the pole position was within our reach," Tiago declared after qualifying. "I will do everything I can to take advantage of the SEAT Leon's potential tomorrow in the first race where there is a rolling start, so as to surprise the drivers ahead of me on the starting grid."
The next day, Tiago did not take advantage of a rolling start, rather he got an early pit stop! His crew had, in fact, forgotten to fuel up the SEAT Leon before the start of the race. Starting in last far behind the pack, Tiago was condemned to finish the first race of the weekend in the same position. Despite a hardly advantageous position on the starting grid for the second race, Tiago called upon all of his talents to move up to 11th place, by battling with several competitors.
"Obviously I am very disappointed because we deserved so much better, but I know that this sort of thing can happen in auto racing, even at the highest level," Tiago explained, recalling Felipe Massa's setbacks at the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Hungary, where Ferrari had sent its driver out to qualifying, forgetting to fill his tank. "We win together, we lose together! The most frustrating thing is that this problem occurred in a race on a weekend where we were constantly among the best and where a podium was well within our reach. The second race is nevertheless a source of satisfaction, because moving up to 11th place in such a competitive championship where 20 drivers are within 1 second, requires a constant level of concentration and shows that we had the potential to achieve an excellent result here. We have to set aside this disappointment and turn ourselves towards the upcoming races where, with SEAT and its very professional and successful structure, we will try to make up for the ground lost here."
The next races will take place in Monza, Italy on the 6th and 7th of October.