Tiago Monteiro says he is ‘delighted’ with the performance of his Honda Civic in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) races in Slovakia, where he salvaged two points’ finishes despite starting from 17th on the grid.
A disastrous qualifying session for Monteiro on Saturday saw the Portuguese star only able to put in the 17th best time at a circuit where he had openly admitted to being confident of a strong result.
As a result, Monteiro had to fight his way back through the field, finishing eighth in race one and ninth in race two, battling hard with the Zengő Motorsport Honda of Norbert Michelisz in the process.
“I caught up in both [races], coming from the back of the field to have a little taste of victory,” said Monteiro of his two races. “Both races were very hard, but I did not want to admit defeat. “I adopted a very aggressive strategy because I knew the challenge would be very difficult to overcome. To get into the points I had to pass many opponents and fortunately that is what I managed to do, not once, but twice. The team and I are delighted with the performance of the car in the races today.”
Monteiro was at a loss to explain why his Civic had performed so badly at a circuit expected to play to its strengths, with his grid position on Saturday being his worst qualifying performance since his home race in 2013.
“We will analyse all the details so that it does not happen again,” asserted Monteiro. “We identified that there were some electronic problems, but they alone do not explain our poor performance. We will make every effort to understand what happened and improve it before the next round.
“Starting from the back of the pack is not a situation where we want to be. Fortunately, we managed to limit the damage and we will try to get two good results at Paul Ricard next week.”
Monteiro remains fourth in the drivers’ championship standings with 108 points as the top Honda driver, 70 points adrift of third-placed Sébastien Loeb and 12 points ahead of team-mate Gabriele Tarquini.