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Tiago Monteiro says it was ‘amazing’ to win Honda’s home race

Tiago Monteiro admits that winning the second World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) race in Japan after suffering a penalty in race one has made his weekend “even more amazing”.

Monteiro was hit with an engine change penalty for the first race at the Twin Ring Motegi, forcing him to start from the back of the grid, from where he salvaged a ninth place finish.

Race two was where Monteiro’s main ambitions lay, and the Portuguese star started the race from third on the grid. At the start the Honda got off to a perfect getaway, jumping both front row men Hugo Valente and Nicky Catsburg to lead before turn one, setting him up for the win.

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By the chequered flag, Monteiro’s lead was ten seconds and became the fourth largest winning margin in WTCC history to-date.

Monteiro admits that tasting victory was ‘even more amazing’ after the misfortune of Saturday, where he openly admitted to being disappointed with eighth and not ninth or tenth on the grid.

“This is what makes this weekend even more amazing, winning a home race for Honda,” said Monteiro, alluding to his race one penalty. “Having started a little bit on the back foot, we knew we had to focus and use the rules to our advantage. We knew the second race was important and something was possible.

“I pulled away very well and just pushed as much as I could, whilst managing my tyres, to get a good gap. I was very confident with the car this weekend; the overall balance has been great and we had some updates which have definitely helped us to be competitive.

“Norbi [Michelisz] and Gabriele [Tarquini] did a good job in the first race and I was really looking forward to doing something in the second one.

“I can only thank everyone at Honda R&D and JAS for all their hard work and support. I hope this is a good reward for them in their home race and I am very happy for the whole team.”

Alessandro Mariani, JAS Motorsport Managing Director, was pleased with the performance of all three Civics throughout the weekend, which topped all sessions except race one and posted both of the fastest race laps.

“I’m very happy that we took a victory; the start was the key point in both races,” said Mariani. “The balance is very good with three drivers on the podium.

“Our pace was very good, we have been competitive since the beginning of FP0, always posting the best time, except in Q1. And today we had fastest laps in both races.

“I am very satisfied and it’s also important for us in Honda’s home race. Big thanks to all the staff; the engineers and Honda for their hard work and support this weekend.”

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