Tiago finishes a great 4th in the season final at Macau
Tiago Monteiro was one of the main protagonists in the final weekend of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), held on the Guia Circuit, at Macau. The Portuguese SEAT Sport driver finished the first race in 6th place, and the second in 4th place, following a bitter duel with one of the title contenders, British driver James Thompson. "It was a very good weekend for me because I was able to push my petrol Leon to the level of the TDI," Tiago exaplains. "I lost seven tenths of a second to the turbo diesel in the fast sections and in the straightaways where my handicap was just too big, but I made up for my delay in the more technical parts of the tracks thanks to a perfectly balanced car. In the end the difference between my times and those of the TDI's was very similar!."
Tiago's experience and his technical finesse immediately worked wonders on the most complex circuit of the world championship. In qualifying, Tiago was the fastest of the SEAT petrol drivers. His 9th place position on the starting grid was fertile ground for a competitive weekend for Tiago, who played his part to perfection, in an effort to help SEAT Sport to triumph in the drivers' and constructors' championships. In the first race, Tiago played a deciding role. The objective was to dominate Andy Priaulx, who had registered the 12th best time in qualifying and was fighting for the title with the SEAT Sport driver Yvan Muller. Tiago achieved his goal by moving up three places to cross the finish line in 6th place, by being consistently faster than the BMW's British driver, who benefited from Muller's DNF and team instructions to climb up to 8th place.
Starting on the 2nd row of the grid for the second race, Tiago had a good start but while trying to pass Nicola Larini, got hit by the Italian. The Portuguese driver managed to keep his car on track and to avoid hitting the guard rails, but his SEAT Leon No. 18 car was damaged in the front right-hand side, and severely destabilized, unlike Tiago himself, who kept up a furious pace in the race! In the 4th lap, Tiago was the fastest driver on the track with a time of 2 min 33.559 sec. He never lost contact with the leading trio made up of Priaulx, Larini, and Thompson. In the last three laps, Tiago and James Thompson gave the many spectators one of the finest duels of the season. But the Guia Circuit offers few chances for overtaking, and Tiago was never able to launch a decisive attack on the Alfa Romeo driver. "The most important thing for me is knowing that I did everything in my power to help the SEAT Sport team. I fulfilled my mission in the first race by being faster than Priaulx and I had the fastest lap three times in a row in the second leg. I am still very disappointed for SEAT Sport. I could not believe my eyes when I saw Yvan's car slowing down. It is a common occurrence in auto racing, you think you are on the right track and you lose everything in the final meters of the race. It takes away nothing from the competitiveness and amazing job done by SEAT Sport, who had a great season and thank them for that ! Yvan is a great driver and a great champion and i am sure he will have more opportunies. Congratualtions to BMW and Andy Priaulx for their championship !"