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Tiago Monteiro: ‘We have a chance’ in Opening Nordschleife race

Honda’s Tiago Monteiro believes that he has a chance of victory in the opening World Touring Car Championship race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife on Saturday, having secured the reverse-grid pole position in qualifying.

Monteiro ended up tenth after over an hour of qualifying around the famous German circuit, with his lap time of 8 minutes 45.405 seconds, just under ten seconds off the pole time, putting him in prime position for the first race of the day.

“Pole is pole, no matter how it comes, and it’s definitely the best place to start a race from,” said Monteiro. “When you start from pole, the aim is to win, but I know I’ll have to push very hard in the twisty part of the Nordschleife to create a gap, because the other cars seem to have very good speed down the long straight.

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“I finished third last year from pole and we’re in a stronger position this year in terms of the car, so I think we have a chance.”

Monteiro’s reverse-grid pole gives Honda something to be positive about, after the Japanese marque was earlier excluded from the results of both of the previous two meetings due to an investigation into the flat floor of the Civic.

Team Principal Alessandro Mariani acknowledged that the qualifying result, which also saw Norbert Michelisz qualify in fourth and Rob Huff in eighth, provided an ideal platform to challenge for a win on Saturday.

Honda also went on to win the MAC3 manufacturer’s qualifying challenge by 1.5 seconds over rivals Citroën, giving Mariani another result to be pleased of.

“Today represents a strong result after what’s been a difficult weekend for us so far,” said Mariani. “The ideal set-up today is not what we expected after FP0 on Thursday due to the rain overnight changing the track conditions, so that was an extra challenge.

“The MAC3 result is truly a team result; for the drivers who made no mistakes and for the mechanics who have put in so much hard work to fix the issues we’ve had on all three cars.

“Tomorrow we have a pole position for Tiago and the aim must be to win if we can.”

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