Tiago Monteiro made a good start to the biggest weekend of his World Touring Car Championship, WTCC, season, the Honda driver recording the fifth fastest time in the opening practice session on the Boavista street circuit in his hometown of Oporto, Portugal. Tiago, Jas Motorsport Honda and had confidence in their competitiveness, unfortunately, the turbocharger on his Honda Civic # 18 was not cooperative and broke down after he had completed just one lap in the second free practice session.

The fact that this misfortune hit in free practice was in fact a lesser evil as the new turbo could be fitted in time for the qualifying session. Honda's technical team completed the transaction in record time and Tiago was able to participate in the first phase of qualifying.

Tiago Monteiro, Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team Honda Civic
Tiago Monteiro, Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team Honda Civic

Photo by: XPB Images

Unfortunately, the damage went a lot deeper than first thought and Tiago was unable to complete a full flying lap with the turbocharger intact. Therefore he will start from 17th on the grid, a far cry from the goal he harbored before the start of the weekend. "I am very disappointed of course. I certainly was not expecting this to happen, but that's racing," said Tiago. "There is no blame to be given. A technical problem has not worked in my favor, but the team did a great job to fix the car in time. Unfortunately, the problem persisted."

"The first time I went on track, I had not gone 200 meters when the turbo started to fail and I returned to the pits to solve the problem. I eventually managed to start a fast lap, but in the last sector, the turbo failed again. There was nothing we could do to fix the problem and improve our chances."

Starting from 17th place on both starting grids, Tiago's main objective is now to provide a good show for the thousands of Portuguese fan who have attended the event. "Despite all my problems, the public has shown me great support and has continued to applaud me on every lap here," rejoiced Tiago."Tomorrow, I want to have a good race and reward them for their loyalty and encouragement. I know I can make up places but points may be an almost impossible task."

Tiago Monteir