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Tiago Monteiro aiming to return to racing at the end of the season

Tiago Monteiro has clarified the time frame for his return to racing, saying that he hopes to take part in some FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) races ‘at the end of the season’ ahead of a full racing return in 2019.

Monteiro has been out of action since a high-speed testing shunt at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in September 2017. The accident caused him to suffer a major head trauma which affected his vision, and curtailed his WTCC title push.

Monteiro had been planning to return early on in the 2018 WTCR season with Boutsen Ginion Racing, but the Portuguese racer’s return has been consistently set back as he continues his recovery, having visited doctors both at home and in Miami in the USA.

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“I deeply thought it was possible [to return for Vila Real], but the decision had to be taken that I wouldn’t be racing here this weekend,” said Monteiro.

“The good news is that I’m actually coming back and this is the great opportunity that I’m having – a really good second chance, and therefore we want to make the most out of it.

“After many exams, many talks with my doctors and the FIA doctors, we analysed all of the pros and cons and we looked at the long term.

“I’m still a young boy and I want to be racing for many years still – I still have a lot to do and a lot to show – so it was safer and definitely more logical to give a bit more time to recover.

“My eyes are fine – it’s been a small miracle, but I’ve recovered my vision 100% which is great. My cervical [vertebrae] and shoulder are also 100%.

“But as a safety precaution, the head trauma that I had was much, much bigger than we initially thought and therefore everybody recommends a minimum of 11 to 12 months of ‘no-impact’ period.

“Therefore, we cannot risk racing right now. We’re almost at the time when I can come back, so my focus and my goals are really towards the end of the season. Right now my goal is to do some races at the end of the season in order to prepare for 2019.

“I must say that it is an amazing pleasure and a relief to say that I know that I will race again. It’s really almost unexpected after some exams which were quite negative and quite frustrating – the probability of coming back was very small.

“The first step was to have a normal life which is great and I’m so grateful for that, but of course the second step is my dream and my life which is to race.

“I did everything I could to be ready for this weekend – my home race – but of course looking at the future I want to be racing for 10, 12 or 15 years whatever, and hope to come back here many times to Vila Real and to keep on the championship.

“Looking at the future I’m working hard on my recovery, but soon you’ll see me again on the track.”

Whilst not racing, Monteiro continues to support his stand-in team-mate Benjamin Lessennes in his maiden season in World Touring Cars.

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