Tiago Monteiro will start from fourth place on the starting grid in the opening round of the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship on Sunday the 8th of March on the Curitiba Circuit. (Brazil). For the first time in the history of the...
Tiago Monteiro will start from fourth place on the starting grid in the opening round of the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship on Sunday the 8th of March on the Curitiba Circuit. (Brazil). For the first time in the history of the championship, the drivers took part in a qualifying session divided into two sections: a twenty minute Q1 where only the top ten drivers out of the twenty-four taking part qualified for the ten minute long Q2 with the result constituting the order on the starting grid.
Q1 was actually stopped, the red flag brought out after an accident for Kristian Poulsen, leaving just 14 minutes and 40 seconds remaining and Tiago Monteiro instantly set out to begin his first real timed lap as he was forced to abort his first flying lap and return to the pits with no time. With the arrival of the green flag, the five Seat Leon TDI's took to the track in single file and recorded the top five best times. Tiago took 2nd place (1:24.55) 0.2 second behind Yvan Muller but the Portuguese driver then slipped back to 4th by the end of the session. The ten best drivers in Q1 were separated by a mere six tenths of a second.
With only ten minutes for Q2 there was no margin of error and Seat Sport ensured none were made by putting its five Leon TDI's in the first five positions! Yvan Muller will start from pole position ahead of his teammates Jordi Gene, Gabriele Tarquini, Tiago Monteiro (1:24.47, 0.2 behind the Frenchman) and Rickard Rydell. Tiago is satisfied with this result, however he feels there was still room for improvement:
"My run was good but I know my lap time could have been better had I been included inside the SEAT pack just like in Q1. But I had to stay in the pits a bit longer and then I was alone on track for my fast lap. Having said that, I am happy with the result and we have to say we are a bit surprised by our performances. We worked hard this winter and we knew we improved the car a lot in the last few months, but to dominate the session this way was rather unexpected and it is proof that we went in the right direction. I hope we will be as strong in race!"
Eurosport will broadcast all the FIA WTCC sessions live today Sunday March 8 with the warm up at 12H30PM and the races at 4:00 and 7:00 PM UK Time.