Portugal WTCR: Monteiro scores first win since return
KCMG Honda’s Tiago Monteiro claimed a popular home victory in the final WTCR race at Vila Real, beating the Cyan Racing pairing of Yvan Muller and Yann Ehrlacher.
Monteiro took the chequered flag with a two- second advantage to notch up his first victory since his return from injury, having taken the lead from his pole-sitting teammate Attila Tassi on the fourth lap of 14.
Muller held off the attentions of his Lynk & Co stablemate and nephew Ehrlacher, with race two winner Mikel Azcona fourth.
Esteban Guerrieri suffered another disappointing race, retiring after contact on the opening lap with the BRC Racing Hyundai of Nicky Catsburg.
Catsburg, who started seventh, made a great start and threatened to go all the way round Jean-Karl Vernay (Audi), Rob Huff (Volkswagen) and Guerrieri as the pack filed into Turn 4 for the first time.
The move nearly paid off but Catsburg, squeezed by both Guerrieri and the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo of Ma Qing Hua, hit the back of Guerrieri, putting both out on the spot.
Guerreri’s title rivals Thed Bjork (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co) and Norbert Michelisz (BRC Racing Hyundai) scored points, with the latter now just 25 points behind.
Tassi initially led off his maiden pole but quickly fell into the grasps off the chasing Monteiro and Muller. Under pressure from behind, Monteiro seized the lead on the entry to Turn 14 with Muller grabbing second on exit.
Tassi dropped as far down as 11th, and eventually retired.
Monteiro got his foot down once in clear air and managed to take his joker lap and rejoin in front of Muller at the start of lap seven.
Later the Honda driver gapped Muller by nearly three seconds to run out a comfortable winner as Muller defended from teammate Ehrlacher and Azcona.
Ehrlacher appeared the faster of the two Lynk & Cos heading into the closing stages and the Frenchman radioed to the team asking if Muller could go any quicker.
But Azcona could not find enough pace to mount a serious challenge and the positions remained the same at the flag.
Bjork claimed eighth just ahead of Ma, while Michelisz made amends for his race two non-score with 10th.
|2||100||Yvan Muller||Lynk & Co||14||2.295|
|3||68||Yann Ehrlacher||Lynk & Co||14||2.647|
|8||11||Thed Björk||Lynk & Co||14||12.507|
|9||55||Ma Qing Hua||Alfa Romeo||14||22.317|
|13||31||Kevin Ceccon||Alfa Romeo||14||24.900|
|19||111||Andy Priaulx||Lynk & Co||14||1'44.342|
|20||22||Frederic Vervisch||Audi||12||2 Laps|
|21||37||Daniel Haglof||CUPRA||7||7 Laps|
|22||9||Attila Tassi||Honda||7||7 Laps|
|23||8||Augusto Farfus||Hyundai||6||8 Laps|
|24||52||Gordon Shedden||Audi||1||13 Laps|
|View full results|
Portugal WTCR: Azcona wins after Ma's joker lap error
Monteiro says he lost focus in "very emotional" final laps