Tiago Monteiro: Perfect preparation for the Le Mans 24 HR Portuguese pilot delighted with successful comeback in historical race The crew of the number ten Team Oreca will start from the eighth row of the starting grid for this weekend's 77th...
Tiago Monteiro: Perfect preparation for the Le Mans 24 HR
Portuguese pilot delighted with successful comeback in historical race
The crew of the number ten Team Oreca will start from the eighth row of the starting grid for this weekend's 77th running of the Le Mans 24 hr on Saturday June 13 at 15:00. Tiago Monteiro, who forms one of the two crews entered by Hugues de Chaunac together with Stephan Ortelli and Bruno Senna, made Thursday's meeting quite profitable as day turned into night, the Oreca team knowing that despite the strength of their Prototype, it will not be able to compete with those propelled by a diesel engine.
The qualifying session was therefore reserved for gaining further experience and Tiago is satisfied with the result and his return to this great test of mythical endurance. "Our aim was to run as much as possible in order to set-up the car and to gather experience at the wheel, it is especially true for me and Bruno Senna as we have had little preparation time before coming here. We are fully aware that despite the quality of our Prototype and Team Oreca, with the rules it will be impossible to fight for the win. Having said that, a lot of work has to be done to be all geared up for such a complex race, the king of endurance racing," Tiago explains.
"We ran in the rain during free practice and to do it at night was a crucial experience for me and the other drivers in order to understand the behaviour of the car on a damp track. In qualifying, I did two laps before 7 PM then I ran at night, which allowed me to confirm that the balance of the car is very good. To secure the 15th fastest lap time with used tyres shows that the car fulfilled our expectations," continued the Portuguese driver, who is fully aware that in an endurance race such as this, and contrary to sprint races, an good position on the grid is only an added extra.
For the drivers, the Le Mans 24 hr is a formidable sporting challenge but also a meeting place and a chance to communicate with many people and Tiago, who is racing for SEAT in the FIA World Touring Car Championship underlines the importance of a quality work environment. "Firstly, it is a very special comeback to the Le Mans 24hr because we have the ideal platform thanks to Team Oreca. Hugues de Chaunac conveyed his enthusiasm, his confidence and his optimism to us for the rest of the race. Plus, Le Mans is a gathering point for all motorsport disciplines. For instance, I caught up with Narain Karthikeyan, who was my teammate at Jordan in Formula 1. It is also very nice to meet with great names such as Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell and to see some of my rivals from the FIA WTCC. We meet people coming from all horizons and in this respect, Le Mans is the Mecca of Motorsport."
Friday is reserved for the driver parade and meetings between spectators and drivers. The 77th Le Mans 24 hr can be followed on the Eurosport network.