Tiago Monteiro pays the price in Curitiba Penalty deprives him of possible victory The weekend started well for Tiago Monteiro at Curitiba, for the first races of the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship, but like many times last year, lady...
Tiago Monteiro pays the price in Curitiba
Penalty deprives him of possible victory
The weekend started well for Tiago Monteiro at Curitiba, for the first races of the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship, but like many times last year, lady luck was not on his shoulder. The driver of the number 5 SEAT Leon was hit in the first race, then penalized after having initiated a pass before the start/finish line when the race was restarted after being behind the safety car.
The penalty prevented Tiago from taking a point for his eighth placed finish and from taking pole position for SEAT in the second race. Penalized 30 seconds, Tiago was dropped back to 16th position and despite climbing back to 12th, the damp track and traffic put a halt to his charge at the end of the race and therefore he could not secure any points in Brazil.
The regrets are multiplied by the fact that in race 2 Tiago was faster than the two winners in Curitiba, his teammates Gabriele Tarquini and Yvan Muller. 3rd fastest driver in the practice sessions, 4th in both qualifying sessions and 5th in the warm-up right behind three BMW's and the reigning champion, Yvan Muller, Tiago was constantly running at the front in Curitiba and the frustration not to have been able to defend his chances to fight for the win was big.
"It is a lost opportunity to score some points right at the beginning of the championship. It is a rule neither the team nor I knew. Despite having one of the fastest race pace, starting from P16 it was impossible to gain enough positions to secure any points. Race 1 was difficult as well because several contacts changed the balance of my car and it was not easy to handle. After having been in front, I understand I could not ask for more than 8th position because my tyre wear was drastic and the behaviour of my SEAT Leon got worse every lap. Despite the frustration of this raw result, I leave Curitiba with a deep conviction that the hard work from this winter has paid off and that it allowed us to dominate our rivals in Brazil even though the new rules penalized us heavily."
The supremacy of the team from Martorell was complete in Curitiba: in practice qualifying and both races and SEAT's rivals were not the only ones to be surprised:
"We knew we lost some speed and we tried to find the best solutions to minimize the effect of the new rules. The work done in the last months delivered a nice reward here; congratulations to the whole team because it was a joint effort from every member of the team. I am frustrated not to have been able to join my teammates but my motivation is the same and I am already thinking ahead to the next round."
The FIA WTCC will run in Puebla, Mexico, in two weeks time. Tiago Monteiro has fond memories of the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed where he clinched victory last year and the Portuguese driver is hoping to repeat history.