Tiago Monteiro on the podium in Valencia... ... a double points finish! Tiago Monteiro finished his first race in Valencia with a podium, his first of the season in the World Touring Car Championship. Author of an excellent flying start, the ...
Tiago Monteiro on the podium in Valencia...
... a double points finish!
Tiago Monteiro finished his first race in Valencia with a podium, his first of the season in the World Touring Car Championship. Author of an excellent flying start, the Portuguese driver immediately climbed up into 3rd place before putting Gabriele Tarquini under pressure until the Italian driver finally made an error on the fifth lap.
The SEAT Leon no.5 driver therefore claimed 2nd place behind the world champion and current leader of the 2009 championship, Yvan Muller, staying there until the end of the race. Tiago stayed close behind the winner and was more than pleased with this first podium of the season... "It feels good to be back on the podium after quite a difficult start to the season. I harassed Gabriele (Tarquini) until I could climb up into P2 and I tried to catch Yvan (Muller) in the next few laps, but I had to take care of my tyres and I decided to back off a little and secure the podium" Tiago explains. "I am delighted because the balance of the car has been perfect all weekend long and because it is a very good collective result for SEAT, in particular after the problems we had in Pau. Overall in Valencia, the SEAT Leon TDI was more efficient than it was last year. It is lighter this year, but on the other hand the engine power was not limited in 2008 and in the end I think the two issues balance each other out. We had a good taste of this in the first race, because even if it looked easy from the outside, it was a tough one. It was very tight and you had to stay focused to avoid even the smallest mistake."
The starting grid for race two was a reversal of the top eight from race one, leaving Tiago to start from seventh place. Yvan Muller got past on the second lap, but the driver from Oporto remained on his teammate's gearbox and they crossed the finish line in formation in order to ensure more invaluable points for SEAT in the championship. Here Tiago explains the strategy of SEAT Sport, which was centred on a united result. "We knew BMW would fight tooth and nail and that our mission would be complex. To take a risk would have compromised a good united result and our main concern was to leave Valencia in the lead of both championships. Our car was fast on this track, but above all it was perfectly well-balanced and that made the difference. Our package has no weak points and this allowed us to be competitive. In Brno in three weeks, I expect us to be able to fight for the podium again and I hope we will secure a good result that will help us defend our constructors' title."
The next races of the FIA WTCC will take place in the Czech Republic on June 20-21 but until then, Tiago will focus on the 24h of Le Mans. The Portuguese driver will be in France tomorrow for a four day test with the Oreca 01 Prototype where he will share the wheel with Stephane Ortelli and Bruno Senna. Tiago is preparing his comeback in the mythical race with impatience and application because for the first time of his career he will drive a LMP1 category car in what will be his third appearance in the 24h of Le Mans. The event will start on June 13.