Two Podiums in the streets of PAU !
Tiago Monteiro is the only driver in the FIA WTCC (World Touring Car Championship) to have climbed twice on the podium this weekend at Pau, home of the most selective circuit of the season. Tiago's two third-place finishes enabled the SEAT Leon Nº 18 car driver to move up to 9th place overall, despite the handicap of not having driven in the first two races of the season.
Tiago's had to use all five senses on the historic circuit in the home town of King Henry IV in an effort to be King of the fourth WTCC match. "I had driven at Pau before in 2001, in single-seaters, but you have to learn everything over again when driving Touring Cars," Tiago explains. "The corners are blind because you don't see the apex or the sidewalks from the cockpit. You also have to turn off the little voice telling you to slow down a bit once in a while, in very delicate sections like Beaumont Park or Foch Monument kerbs. Luckily, my SEAT Leon was perfectly balanced, thanks to the whole crew's hard work that gave me a perfect car. I really have to thank them!"
Third on the starting grid for the first race, Tiago had a good start that helped him to hold off two Chevrolets, and to get closer to his SEAT team-mate, Yvan Muller. His first podium just around the corner, he fought hard not to let it slip through his fingers. "I am very happy about this first podium," Tiago explains, "I wasn't able to move up at the start, but I was careful not to destroy my tires too early. I was able to outrun Larini and then I knew that even if I caught up with Yvan, I shouldn't risk jeopardizing the team's chances. I didn't take too many risks in getting the first podium, which is payback for all of SEAT's hard work."
With the reverse grid system for the top 8 drivers, Tiago started sixth on the starting grid for the second race, and his objective was to score points on a circuit where overtaking is a real feat. Circumstances and flawless driving led him to use another of his senses, his taste for leading roles, and champagne. "I immediately passed Huff at the start, but I took a few knocks, as my rear bumper can attest! I put pressure on Porteiro and he went off after colliding with Jordi Gene. I had a hard time containing Huff, whose top speed was phenomenal on the straightaways. I was luckily able to take my distance in the more technical parts of the track and I was careful not to wear out my tires too soon. I was hoping that Huff would destroy his tires, which he ended up doing. At Pau the driver can make more of a difference than at any other circuit. I went for the limit and I found it, without going beyond it, thanks to the confidence that I had in the car that the team had gotten ready. This second podium shows that SEAT Sport is a major team and I hope that it will lead to others!"
Next meeting: June 16-17 at Brno (Czech Republic)