Tiago Monteiro has praised Honda for building a strong car, after he suffered a big crash as a result of a puncture which took him out of the opening World Touring Car Championship race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Monteiro was leading the opening race on the final lap when his front-right tyre suffered a puncture. That pitched him at full speed into the Armco on the Nordschleife, with the Portuguese racer being subsequently collected by Citroën’s Yvan Muller.
The damage meant that Monteiro was unable to start the main race either, and he was taken to the circuit’s medical centre as a result of the impact.
“That was a very big accident and one I’m glad to come away from with only some bruising and quite a bit of soreness in my body,” said Monteiro. “I have to say thank you to Honda for building such a strong car.
“It’s very frustrating because I was driving very carefully and not pushing too hard, but then I had a puncture at very high speed. My tactic was to be quite cautious in most places and then push to get a gap before the long straight to keep everyone else behind, and it’s certain that there was a very good chance to win.
“It’s a double frustration because it meant I couldn’t start the second race either. But I’ll be back in Russia as good as new and pushing as hard as ever.”
Although Monteiro remains second in the drivers’ championship standings, he is now a 69 points adrift of leader José María López.
JAS Motorsport Team Principal Alessandro Mariani admits that Monteiro having suffered a puncture on the way to a possible win is hard to take, given the potential of the car and driver in Germany.
“I’m very sad for Tiago’s accident because he was driving very well and had the potential to win the opening race,” said Mariani. “Thankfully he was not badly hurt in what was a very high-speed impact.
“All three drivers were being careful with their tyre management, so to have a puncture is not what we expect in this case.”
Mariani also added that the pressure of the manufacturer being excluded from the results of the two previous meetings, due to an apparently illegal flat floor, has been hard to take this weekend, even though Honda plan to appeal the decision.
Therefore a pair of podiums for Norbert Michelisz, with a third and second respectively, offered a glimmer of positivity for the team.
“It’s been a very stressful weekend for the team for many reasons, so to have these results mean we can at least leave on something of a positive note.”