Monteiro “won’t give up” on title fight with Lopez

Tiago Monteiro has vowed not to give up on chasing down WTCC runaway points leader Jose Maria Lopez following his victory in the second race at Vila Real.

Monteiro “won’t give up” on title fight with Lopez
Podium: Race winner Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC; second place Yvan Muller, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC; third place Norbert Michelisz, 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; Rob Huff, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Race winner Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC

Monteiro leapt back to second in the drivers’ championship following a sensational victory in front of his home fans at the Portuguese street track, leading from start to finish and fighting off unrelenting pressure from four-time champion Yvan Muller to take a ninth career win.

“This was a moment that I’ll remember forever,” said Monteiro about his victory. “I will keep it in my head, in my heart. I cannot thank everybody enough for this to have happened today.

"Of course you need a great team behind you, great people, and it was such an important moment of course. A lot of people from Honda are here to see this great event, and the support I’ve been getting for the last few months on the build up to this event has been crazy.

“To do a pole position and to win our home race is unbelievable. I could hear people while I was in the car, we have the engine and I have earplugs but I could hear people [over that], shouting on the last few laps.”

Monteiro’s win means he closes the gap to Lopez to a still substantial 101 points, but now moves up to second place in the standings to be the Argentinian’s main rival heading to his home race in August.

“We’re going to be on his home ground and he has a big advantage, but I said I won’t give up and I won’t give up,” he said.

“Mathematically it’s still possible. Of course we need a bit of luck, bit with pressure as you can see in qualifying he can make mistakes, just like everybody can make mistakes.

"This is a high pressure environment and everybody can break, so we’ll try to apply this pressure until the end of the season.”

Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes

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