Tiago Monteiro ‘very happy’ with start to season in Morocco

Tiago Monteiro ‘very happy’ with start to season in Morocco

Tiago Monteiro
Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI

Tiago Monteiro was ‘very happy’ with the results he achieved in the FIA World Touring Car Cup in Morocco, where the KCMG Honda driver was twice in the points to leave inside the top ten in the championship.

On his return to competing in a full season of racing, Monteiro was immediately near the front of the field, qualifying in eighth for Saturday’s first race.

The Portuguese driver then brought his Civic home in sixth to score valuable points on the Circuit Moulay el Hassan, where overtaking is notoriously difficult.

Going into Sunday, the former Formula 1 driver was looking for further gains. He improved his qualifying performance further, making it through to Q3 and qualifying in fourth for the main race.

In the reverse-grid race Monteiro lost out at the start and could only manage eighth, before he was involved in an incident with Cyan Racing’s Yann Ehrlacher in race three that eliminated him from the race.

“I am very happy with these results because we scored important points for the championship and we found a good pace in both qualifying and in the race,” said Monteiro.

“I’ve always been up with the leaders and on a circuit where overtaking is very complicated, it didn’t make any sense to take big risks to win a small place”.

In race three Monteiro had been in the middle of a three-wide pack heading into Turn 7 when he made contact with Ehrlacher, who was trying to pass around the outside.

Monteiro had nowhere to go as fellow Honda driver Esteban Guerrieri was blocking his inside line. Monteiro and Ehrlacher made contact, taking both drivers out of the race.

“Everything was going so well that it’s frustrating to finish the weekend that way. It could have been our best race, but we must look at the positives.

“We are fast, I’m back to 100%, the car is doing well, and the 20 points scored allow us to start the championship well and gives the entire team great motivation.”

The 42-year-old is looking forward to the next round in Budapest at the end of the month, where he hopes to continue fighting at the sharp end.

“This weekend has made it clear that many drivers are fast. But it was a street circuit and it is always difficult in these conditions to judge your opponents.

“In Hungary everything will be clearer for everyone, but I don’t doubt that we have the potential to be at the front”.