Tiago Monteiro, the fastest driver in the second race at Imola... ...but pushed off the track four times! For Tiago Monteiro, the weekend at Imola began to look more like bumper cars than the 9th meeting of the FIA World Touring Car ...
Tiago Monteiro, the fastest driver in the second race at Imola... ...but pushed off the track four times!
For Tiago Monteiro, the weekend at Imola began to look more like bumper cars than the 9th meeting of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). The Porto native was a target for several competitors who prevented him from achieving the result that he could legitimately have hoped for, given his speed in both races.
Qualified in 11th place in the first race, Tiago was in a scuffle for 8th position, which would have meant a point and above all it would have meant a pole position in the second leg at Imola. But in the last of eleven laps, just as he was getting ready to try an overtaking maneuver around Jorg Muller, who was defending his 8th place tooth and nail, the driver of the SEAT Leon No. 18 was waylaid by another BMW, who lost control of his car at Tosa corner. The forced trip through a gravel trap made Tiago lose four places, and he had to start from the 13th position in the afternoon leg. It was an arduous task, but the Portuguese driver knew that the setup on his SEAT would help him to fight for a few points, if everything went according to his plans. But the scenario from the first race repeated itself and once again Tiago was a magnet for his direct opponents. Bumped in the first lap, and forced to put two wheels in the grass, Tiago was then rammed by two more rivals. He nevertheless demonstrated his pure speed, recording the fastest lap in the race, almost a half second in front of the event's top 6 drivers!
"These incidents ruined the whole weekend's work. Anyone who didn't see what happened might think I am playing the victim, but anyone who was there for the incidents, or who saw them on television don't have the slightest doubt. The drivers that I had overtaken had tried three times to regain their positions at any price, and each time they did so by crossing the limits of fair play. It is very difficult to get a good result under these conditions and it is fairly revolting" Tiago explained.
Winner of two races in the 2008 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), the SEAT Sport driver stressed that he is not the only one who saw his excellent results dragged down by the haste of certain tactless competitors.
"The proportion of this type of incident is starting to be worrisome. The WTCC is an excellent championship, which enjoys a remarkably professional environment, and whose atmosphere is very good between drivers and teams. But this situation has to end. There are a few drivers who are ready to do anything to defend or take back a position. A feeling of injustice is growing for some of us."
Yvan Muller won the first Imola race, which enabled him to widen his lead in the championship to 12 points over Gabriele Tarquini. In the second race, James Thompson benefitted from an extremely light car in order to provide Honda with its first win.
The FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) will continue on its way in Italy for the last meeting to take place in Europe. The 19th and 20th races will take place in Monza on October 4th and 5th.