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Tiago Monteiro surprised with Shanghai issues

Tiago Monteiro admits he is surprised with the number of issues encountered during the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) weekend in Shanghai, with the Honda driver collecting two top ten finishes in China.

After the high of victory in the previous round in Japan, Monteiro struggled in qualifying in China. The Portuguese driver struggled for pace in Q1, ending up 16th fastest and the second slowest driver in the whole field.

“Our car was not very strong in qualifying and I also had an opponent hinder me during my fastest lap, leaving me with a bad grid position,” explained Monteiro of his worst qualifying result since Slovakia in June. “With nothing to lose, we completely changed the set-up of the car for the race.

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“Someone hit me at the start, but fortunately I managed to stay on track and make it up to eighth place after a lot of fighting in the midfield.”

Starting from 13th in race two thanks to the demise of several competitors, Monteiro got off to a strong start and was up to seventh by the end of the first lap. That subsequently became sixth when he overtook Campos Racing’s john Filippi on lap four.

“The race went well and the Honda Civic handled better,” said Monteiro of the second race. “I was able to make use of the car’s potential a lot more than I did in qualifying and that’s a good thing.

“It was a new experience and I’m glad we were able to limit the damage. There are still two important rounds before the end of the season and it is important that we continue to work hard and score some big points.

“This weekend was very different from last time where we won. We expected to encounter difficulties, but perhaps not this many.

“We knew it would be a difficult weekend – hence our bad qualifying result – but as always the Civic proved to be really consistent in race pace.

“I’m also happy because this race allowed us to discover new areas on which we can continue to work to improve the car.”

As a result of his weekend Monteiro has lost only a handful of points to team-mate Gabriele Tarquini and Zengő Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz in the battle for the honour of ‘best of the rest’ behind the Citroën drivers, with the trio separated by seven points after Shanghai.

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