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Tiago Monteiro: Up and down 2011

Tiago Monteiro had a mixed season in 2011, both in the FIA World Touring car Championship as well as in the Formula One supporting GP2 Series, where he is involved with the Ocean Racing Technology outfit.

Looking back over the season and his career to date, the popular Portuguese driver reviews his best WTCC memories, looks ahead to the 2012 season and summarises the fortunes of Ocean Racing Technology in GP2.

2011 saw Monteiro driving for the SUNRED team, starting off with the 2.0 TDi engine in the SEAT Leon before switching to the SUNRED developed 1.6 litre Turbocharged engine.

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For Monteiro, adapting his driving style from the TDi engine to the turbocharged petrol one was reasonable easy, as he explains: “That was pretty easy and fast transition. There is for sure a decent difference in driving style and ability to push the car to its limits, but its ok; its part of the game.”

His season was a story of two halves – during the early part of the season, while he was running the TDi engine, he was leading the SUNRED charge in the Championship, but after Porto, his home race weekend, his season went downhill and he wound up sixth overall and second SEAT driver in the Championship.

“Tough!” summed up the Portuguese driver. “I started off very strong and competitive. But after Porto, with the introduction of the new engine, too many problems for the rest of the season and I lost two places in the Championship.

“So up’s and downs.”

The 2011 campaign saw a total of four new circuits visited: Budapest, Donington Park, Suzuka and Tianma. Out of the four, which did Monteiro enjoy the most?

“Budapest and Donington,” summarised Monteiro. “Although I love Suzuka, the small track was a disappointment.”

Looking back over the season as a whole, which teams or driver’s impressed Monteiro and were there any driver’s or team’s who underperformed.

Monteiro was quick to praise the efforts of the Chevrolet crew: “Chevy did obviously an amazing job! And BMW, they started off very poorly and then recovered quite well with Tom (Coronel) and (Franz) Engstler.

“Volvo underperformed in terms of end results, because many times they were the fastest car out there but couldn’t quite finalise the result.”

2012 sees Monteiro without any fixed plans – but he would like to remain in the WTCC but this may not be the case, as he explains: “My plans were to stay in the WTCC. I believe in the championship and wanted to stay here for the future. Now chances are that I might be somewhere else. But nothing is decided yet.”

The 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship Calendar sees the races split into two sections for the first time. The first half of the season covers the European and African weekend while the second half of the season sees the series cover all of the flyaway races.

“Personally I prefer the way it was. But it makes a lot more sense financially and logistically this new way,” explained Monteiro, who would love to take the series to two specific circuits if he was in charge of the calendar.

“Spa, cause I love it! Surfer’s paradise cause it’s an amazing event.”

Looking back over his entire WTCC campaign to date, what moments stand out for the former Formula One driver?

“Winning at home twice (Estoril and Algarve) was obviously one of the greatest times of my time in WTCC and my career in general! Such an amazing feeling!”

Away from his World Touring Car Championship commitments, Monteiro is also involved with the GP2 Series outfit Ocean Racing Technology, and the 2011 campaign was a tough one for the team, as they struggled and finished the season twelfth with four points to their name.

There weren’t many highlights for Monteiro from the 2011 campaign, as he explains: “Not many… 2011 was a particularly frustrating year for us… can’t even remember…”

2012 will see the GP2 Series run an expanded calendar – with four flyaway races added to the calendar for the first time and there is one circuit in particular that Monteiro is looking forward to heading back to with the team.

“Have a great memory from KL (Kuala Lumpur) from my F1 times, so actually quite excited to go back there!”

The 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship gets underway in Italy, at Monza over the 10/11 March while Monteiro and the Ocean Racing Technology team see their 2012 GP2 Series campaign get underway over the 23/24/25 March at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

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  1. eu só digo não deixes o wtcc eu carlos ribeiro de gondomar ficava muito triste pois eu sempre disse que estou sempre a dar mais e melhor e muita força de vençer  aqui de alma e coração pois tive no porto na boavista wtcc de 2011 sempre desque inico até aquele podio exelencia no dia 3 julho espetacular e a baixa de pessoas do teu steff espetacular bem equipa e faz um bom trabalho muito obrigado tiago monteiro


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