Monteiro and Muller on the podium in Pau In only his third weekend of competition in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, Tiago Monteiro recorded his first ever WTCC podium finish in the first of the two French rounds, then repeated that ...
Monteiro and Muller on the podium in Pau
In only his third weekend of competition in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, Tiago Monteiro recorded his first ever WTCC podium finish in the first of the two French rounds, then repeated that result in the day's second race.
In addition, Yvan Muller went one better than Monteiro's third place in Race 1, which meant SEAT Sport took three of the possible six podium places from Pau's two races. Also able to score valuable Championship points was Jordi Gene, who finished 8th in Race 1 and 5th in Race 2.
As Yvan Muller predicted after the qualifying session, overtaking was all but impossible on the tight Pau street circuit and so his only real chance of victory ended when Alain Menu beat him to the first corner. For the remainder of the 19 laps, Muller and Tiago Monteiro ran in 2nd and 3rd positions and so claimed two of the three podium places for SEAT Sport. Jordi Gene also finished in the points: his 8th place rewarding him with pole position for Race 2.
Michel Jourdain Jr. had also predicted that his lowly grid position would cause him problems in the race. Although he managed to stay out of trouble, including narrowly avoiding a lap 1 incident that saw debris from the Alfa Romeo of Olivier Tielemans strewn across the track, he could only finish 12th. A puncture forced Gabriele Tarquini into the pits for a fresh tyre on lap 14 and the Italian went on to finish 19th.
Despite starting from pole, Jordi Gene was outgunned by the two BMWs of Augusto Farfus Jr. and Andy Priaulx away from the startline. Three laps were spent behind the safety car, with Jordi then being hit by the BMW of Felix Porteiro on lap 10 which dropped the Spaniard to 5th. Tiago Monteiro inherited Jordi's 3rd place and held off a strong challenge from Robert Huff's Chevrolet to finish on the podium once more.
Yvan Muller finished 6th, one place behind Gene, while Gabriele Tarquini couldn't claw his way into the points after the 10-place penalty he incurred at Valencia meant he started Race 1 from 19th on the grid; the Italian eventually finished 12th. A fuel problem meant Michel Jourdain Jr.'s race ended on lap 15.
In the Yokohama Trophy for Independent drivers, SEAT Leons took a 1-2-3. Pierre-Yves Corthals, Anthony Beltoise and Maurizio Ceresoli finished 13th, 14th and 15th respectively.
Tiago Monteiro (SEAT Leon no. 18): "I'm delighted! The only reason I could finish on the podium twice is that I'm comfortable with the car and so I could push. The whole team pays so much attention to detail and they gave me a great car. I couldn't expect more; two podiums on only my third weekend in the WTCC."
Yvan Muller (SEAT Leon no. 12): "It's been a good weekend for the team -- three podiums and some good points. We still need to find some more speed, though. I'd have liked to win, but I knew yesterday that it would be virtually impossible."
Jordi Gene (SEAT Leon no. 9): "I'm not happy with the second race at all; I wasn't expecting Porteiro to try to pass me where he did. I should have been fighting for the podium, but at least I came away with some points."
Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT Leon no. 11): "Both races were similar for me -- the only difference was that I had a puncture in the first! When you're in a queue, even if the others are slower, you have no chance and it's pointless fighting for eleventh."
Michel Jourdain Jr (SEAT Leon no. 10): "It's been a very frustrating day for me. I got up to eighth and so into the points, but we had some kind of problem with the fuel line and I had to stop. I really hope my luck will change soon!"
Jaime Puig (Director, SEAT Sport): "Three podiums is a very good result, but of course we could have done even better; we haven't really taken any advantage because our competitors also did well. We had a slow start to the year, but now we're really starting to catch up and so I expect things to improve even more."