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Tiago Monteiro: “No home advantage”

Tiago Monteiro has admitted that he won’t have any home advantage despite living in Porto as the World Touring Car Championship heads to the Circuito da Boavista.

“You can compare the circuit of Porto with the street race of Macao: it’s very technical and fast,” explains Monteiro. “Standing in front on the grid, just as in Macao or Marrakech, is very important in street races. But, despite what people will think, I won’t have a home advantage in Porto.

“The streets in the harbour front used for the race run in the opposite way of the daily traffic! But what I can really appreciate is that I can sleep at home and walk to the circuit. It’s unique for me in the season and a real gift!”

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Monteiro is chasing victory on the streets of Porto – he has won at Estoril and on the Algarve but not on his home town streets.

Honda will have a major presence throughout the entire weekend, as Honda Portugal has a major promotional campaign for the WTCC race of Portugal.

“It will be an important weekend for many reasons,” the former Formula 1 driver adds. “There’s the fact that so many from Honda will be here, but also friends, family and fans who’ll want to say hello. I love that part of my job, but equally I have to do my very best to concentrate on the task in hand and that’s ending in front with the Civic, in qualifying as well as the two races…”

After the opening 12 races of the campaign, Monteiro finds himself 11th in the Championship having had a tough start to the campaign. While his Castrol Honda Team-mate Gabriele Tarquini is 2nd overall, 73 points ahead of Monteiro, the Portuguese racer isn’t worried about the points gap.

“It’s fair to say that I’ve had my share of bad luck so far this season,” explains the 37 year old. “I’ve been involved in a few incidents as people know, but these things happen in a first year – its part of racing and you know that as a driver. Also, don’t forget that we are still in our first year in the championship. We learn with every race, everybody works hard and it allows us to prepare ourselves better in the future.”

Heading to the streets of Porto, both the Castrol Honda and Zengö Motorsport Honda Civics will lose 30 kilos of success ballast. The ballast – which is allocated on a rolling three race period – is reduced as Slovakiaring is four events ago. Monteiro feels that this could be a turning point for him and the team.

“It will be clear to everyone who’s being following the season that the extra weight – inherited after our Slovakia success – hasn’t helped us. I’m also convinced that making the Civic lighter will mark a turning point in this campaign and help us to fight again in the front,” Monteiro concludes.

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