Tiago on row two in Valencia SEAT has upper hand in WTCC qualifying Tiago Monteiro will start from fourth place on the grid in the first race of the Valencia round of the World Touring Car Championship tomorrow, the Portuguese driver...
Tiago on row two in Valencia SEAT has upper hand in WTCC qualifying
Tiago Monteiro will start from fourth place on the grid in the first race of the Valencia round of the World Touring Car Championship tomorrow, the Portuguese driver benefitting from a perfectly balanced SEAT Leon TDI that enabled him to put in a strong performance on the Ricardo Tormo circuit. SEAT Sport actually locked out the best times in the two qualifying sessions and as a result will occupy the first two rows of the grid for the opening round in Valencia.
Tiago Monteiro indicated his competitiveness in Spain when he secured the best time in the second round of free practice, more than half a second ahead of his nearest rival. "It is a very satisfying day for SEAT and I,"emphasized the driver of the SEAT Leon TDI No.5. "The car is very good and it gives confidence to the driver. We are all the more delighted that we can still fight for the top places despite a few small mistakes here and there. The three Chevrolets were in the top 10 at times, so were the BMWs, but in the end we were more accurate and cleaner and that makes the difference. The team organization with perfectly and it is of great help for the extremely difficult exercise which is qualifying."
The set-up strategy by SEAT Sport proved to be a determining factor with the five Leon TDI preserving a set of new tyres for the end of the session, enabling the SEAT drivers to give a decisive final assault at the end of the session. Half way through, Tiago held provisional pole position and he continued to fight with his teammates all the way to the flag. Tiago is now left feeling very confident for the first race and has set himself a high goal. "In comparison to last year, the main difference is that the car is 100kg lighter and it makes a huge difference, in particular for the behaviour of the car in fast curves and for tyre wear. It is true that we have less power, but when no errors annoy us we are able to be up with the front runners. Now we will analyze all the data gathered here today in order to define our race strategies. It is clear that we will be aiming for the win."
Contrary to last year, SEAT Sport is at ease on the Spanish track which is demanding for the diesel engine as well as for the tyres. Tiago was only 48 tenths of a second shy of polesitter Gabriele Tarquini and will definitely be aiming for the podium. However, the race will be long and will most probably be very close between the top 10 drivers. The four first positions secured by SEAT, with 9th position going to Rickard Rydell, also shows the merits of the decisions taken by the FIA concerning the technical rules which have changed since the Pau meeting where SEAT were condemned to the back rows but despite a modification to the turbo relative pressure, the TDI engines still have a power loss.
The races of the 5th round of the FIA WTCC will be broadcasted by Eurosport on Sunday, at 11:45AM and 1:45PM UK time.