Tiago Monteiro 5th in Morocco
The SEAT Leon TDI n5 secures points in both races
Tiago Monteiro's Moroccan weekend showed great consistency with the Portuguese driver bringing home some strong points at the end of .the weekend. Seventh in free practice and qualifying on the .Marrakech circuit, Monteiro crossed the finish line in the weekend's two events in fifth and seventh places. With a total of 6 points, Tiago has contributed to the consolidation of SEAT Sport's charge at the front of the FIA WTCC as they are now 29 points ahead of BMW, 42 ahead of Chevrolet and 69 on Lada.
The points secured by Tiago are of particular importance for him because they were acquired on a circuit where the team encountered some difficulties. "All in all, this weekend was rather complicated for the team as well as frustrating for me, but it is a positive one in the end. I knew I had to take good care of the starts as the track is very narrow, especially in the first race where we had a rolling start, as we all arrived into the first turn at full speed. On the other hand, I was very aware that it would be difficult to overtake and that the tyres would lose their efficiency quickly. I climbed up to 5th quite quickly and I was faster than Yvan Muller in the last stage, but I knew it would be too risky for me and the team to try to get past him" Tiago admits.
The second race was one of tightest of the season with a very close group. Tiago recorded the best lap of the race out of all the SEAT Leon TDI's, but the conditions weren't good enough to enable him to regain all the places he had lost at the start due to a turbo failure. At the end of an emotional race, Tiago succeeded in working his way up to 7th place after emerging from the first turn in 10th position. Tiago fought for some time with triple world touring car champion, Andy Priaulx, putting the Englishman under pressure and pushed him into making an error, but Tiago regrets not having been able to make it to the podium. "It is very hard to overtake in Marrakech. My start did not go well and I instantly knew I will have to cope with a hard race. I had a lot of fun with all the duels I had, and especially the one, very spectacular, with Andy Priaulx. But I'm also frustrated at having lost a lot of time behind several drivers who were not as fast as me and who slowed down my fight back. The car was well balanced and very competitive thanks to SEAT Sport's hard work and my fastest lap was only one tenth of a second off the winner's one. On a personal level, I'm rather satisfied because I secured points in both races despite all the problems we had to cope with. But above all, the bad luck stayed away this time. Consistency is crucial in the WTCC and I wanted to score as many points as I could. The weekend was tough for SEAT Sport and we experienced several problems. It is the first time of the season where we did not win a race. With the 40kg ballast, we knew the victory might not be within our grasp, but we opened the gap a bit more in the championship and that's very important."
Chevrolet profited from the lower weight of their cars and won both races in Marrakech, thanks to Robert Huff and Nicola Larini. The next races of the WTCC will take place in Europe, on another street circuit, in Pau (France), on the 16th and 17th of May.