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Tiago Monteiro “frustrated” to lose out on second

Honda’s Tiago Monteiro says he is frustrated to have lost out on second position in the closing moments of the second World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) race on the Nürburgring, as he called for Honda to work on reducing their speed disadvantage compared to Citroën.

Monteiro led the early stages of the race, having started from pole position in the second Nordschleife event. However the Portuguese driver was passed with ease by Yvan Muller on the 3.5 km Döttinger Höhe straight at the end of the first lap.

Monteiro kept the pressure on Muller at the front until the very last lap, when he once again fell foul of a lack of straightline speed. José María López, who started the lap in fourth, sailed past both Gabriele Tarquini and Monteiro to score a Citroën 1-2 in the closing stages of the race, and deny Monteiro second position.

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“Frustration is really the main word which comes to mind,” said Monteiro to TouringCars.Net when asked to sum up the pass. “It’s frustrating when you take so many risks and have a very good car, pushing hard on the Nordschleife and pushing hard even on the GP track where we were quite good.

“I was putting pressure on Yvan quite a lot and he was making some mistakes, so I was confident that maybe if I keep pushing he would make a bigger mistake. I was really not worried about Pechito [López] behind, because he was so far away. Approaching the last straight I saw he passed my team-mate Gabriele but I still thought I was safe because he was very far away.

“The speed difference is just too big still. We really need to do something about it. It’s not new; we know this is our weak point and we’ve improved a lot, but it’s obviously still not enough.”

Monteiro called on Honda to make further gains in performance, in particular to the engine on the Civic, which was given an aerodynamic upgrade ahead of the previous meeting in Hungary.

“As far as I know there are plans [to develop the engine], but they need to come very fast. It was like this last year as well. I think at a normal track it will be a bit less evident. Here it’s obviously very, very fast, also in Shanghai, and in Thailand I heard there’s a long straight as well.”

Monteiro remained optimistic though, and was pleased to have scored his second podium result of the season to remain fourth in the championship.

“I think it was a great result overall. I heard the show was good and we had fun in the car. We had big fights and it was a big challenge for the drivers – it was very interesting. We were able to be closer than expected, fighting everywhere.

“I think [the event] was a success, so hopefully I’ll be back next year and be a few steps higher on the podium.”

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