Monteiro expects "different story" in Hungary as Honda picks up ballast

Honda's Tiago Monteiro left Slovakia as the WTCC championship leader but the Portuguese feels it will be a "different story" next weekend in Hungary due to the redistribution of success ballast.

Monteiro expects "different story" in Hungary as Honda picks up ballast
Race winner José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Start race 2
Rob Huff, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC; Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC; Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Podium: Winner Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC; second place Mehdi Bennani, Sébastien Loeb Racing, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC; third place Rob Huff, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Nicky Catsburg, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC; Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC; Nicky Catsburg, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Rob Huff, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Race winner Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC

A win and a second-place finish in Slovakia gave the Monteiro a one-point lead over Jose Maria Lopez in the standings, while Honda heads Citroen by three points in the manufacturers' championship.

However, the Japanese manufacturer's Civics are now set to gain weight substantially, having had no success ballast during the first two rounds while Citroen ran with the full 80kg.

"Overall I can’t complain, it was a great weekend for me. We recovered from a tough qualifying and we learned a lot again," said a happy Monteiro after the weekend.

"We know the story might be different with the weights coming into play in Hungary, but for now let’s just enjoy the moment.”

Hoped for double victory

In the first race, Monteiro went past Sebastien Loeb Racing's Mehdi Bennani in the closing laps to claim his first win of the season.

“The start was very important and I was right behind Mehdi as soon as the lights went out," he said.

"I just pushed from the beginning, knowing that the Citroens were very strong, and Mehdi was driving perfectly, he made no mistakes whatsoever.

"I tried hard to find a weak spot, but it was tricky. I managed to find a way through at Turn 8 towards the end of the race, although the tyre degradation on the C-Elysee was not as we had expected. We had to go for it, I did a very good pass and that was great.”

The Portuguese followed it up with a second place in the main race in a three-way fight for the win, with Lopez edging Monteiro and Lada's Nicky Catsburg.

“I started seventh and I was looking for points, because the car was very good as I knew from the first race.

"The good start gave me some good opportunities, and then it was a very interesting fight with Nicky and Lopez.

"You always hope you can [win], especially when I saw Catsburg was suffering from tyre degradation and Pechito also had problems I thought I could take that double victory.

"I was really trying hard to win again, I wanted to take advantage of the others’ problems."

Citroen to catch up

“Honda did a fantastic job this weekend, Tiago leads the championship, so congratulations to them," said Citroen's reigning champion Lopez.

"We will see how the game changes with the weights coming into play, and it will be time for us to catch up.

"They took advantage of our extra weight, but the important thing was to bag some good points and winning [Race 2] was amazing.”

TouringCarTimes

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