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Tiago Monteiro confident of strong finish to the season

Honda’s Tiago Monteiro says that he is confident of a strong finish to the World Touring Car Championship season in Qatar, with the Portuguese driver aiming to finish as the overall runner-up.

Monteiro set the pace in second practice on Thursday evening, underlining the potential that both he and his Honda Civic have around the Losail International Circuit.

Monteiro and Honda were handed a boost in the run-up to the event with the announcement that the Civic would carry just 30 kg of compensation weight.

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As well as that boost, Monteiro comes fresh from having taken victory in the Guia Race of Macau at the wheel of a Honda Civic TCR, leaving him to arrive in Qatar on a high.

“After the victory in Macau my enthusiasm and confidence are extremely high,” said Monteiro, who has to outscore Citroën’s Yvan Muller by 31 points in order to beat him in the standings. “At the beginning of the season my goal was to finish the year in the top three, and it looks like I have achieved that because I already hold third position.

“However, I will not give up because there is still a chance to claim second. I’m going to do my job, fight for the best position and hope that the math ends up going in my favour.

“We’ll all try our absolute hardest to take second place, even though the points gap will be tough to overcome.”

Monteiro struggled at the circuit in 2015 when he was only able to take two top ten finishes. Despite that, he is confident of extracting more from the car and circuit this time around.

“In 2015 I was not particularly happy on this track but that does not mean that history will repeat itself,” added the 40-year-old. “The Honda Civic has taken a big step forward throughout the season, so nothing will be the same. The package we’ve developed with Honda this year is a significant step forwards.

“I have confidence in the entire team to finish the year in the best way possible.”

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