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Tiago Monteiro: ‘We must be careful’

Honda’s Tiago Monteiro is wary of the risks of racing on a street circuit at his home race, as the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) drivers prepare to tackle the Vila Real circuit in Portugal.

It is the first time in two years that Monteiro has had a home race in the WTCC, and the Portuguese driver is not getting too carried away with the hype. The 4.7 km circuit is new to the championship but has a long history, having first held racing in 1931.

Monteiro is wary of the risks of racing on a street circuit, with no margin for error between the concrete walls.

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“We must have a different approach than elsewhere because we cannot risk it all early in the weekend,” explained Monteiro. “We must be careful and up the pace when it’s appropriate.

“Qualifying will be very important and we will do our best to get the best result possible. My goal is to get on the podium and have two good races to give the public a good show on Vila Real.

“It will not be easy as we have seen in the past that our opponents are very strong, but I will give everything I have to reach my goal.”

As the local hero, Monteiro is looking forward to racing on his home circuit, despite having never raced on the track before.

“I am excited for the competition to begin. The last few weeks have been very busy in terms of promotion for the Vila Real races and I have felt enormous support from everyone. I want to thank them for that on the podium.

“It is a circuit steeped in history, which I have heard a lot about, but I do not know all of it and I’m curious to find out.”

“I came to watch some races when I was eight or nine years old but like everyone else, I’ve never raced here. This track is very high-speed, but unlike some of the other street tracks we’ve been to, it is very flowing. There are a lot of direction changes in sweeping corners which makes it quite unusual for a street race, so I am really looking forward to getting out on track.

“Being my home event there is extra pressure and a more demanding schedule, but it’s positive. It means a lot to have local support so I will be focussing 100% and hoping to put on an exciting, successful performance for them.”

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