Tiago Monteiro was frustrated to have to retire from the opening FIA World Touring Car Cup race at Zolder, where the Honda driver’s engine failed whilst he was running in the points.
Monteiro had risen from 17th on the grid to just inside the points in 14th when his engine failed on lap eight, ending his hopes of scoring any points.
The failure came just five laps after Münnich Motorsport team-mate Esteban Guerrieri had retired from the race with another blown engine, raising concerns for the Japanese manufacturer.
Monteiro was frustrated both by the retirement and the fact that he felt he had more pace than he was able to show in the early part of the race.
“Obviously, it’s very frustrating on a personal note,” said the Portuguese driver. “The frustrations started yesterday with the issues in qualifying, so I knew that we were not at our normal position.
“I suppose the pace around me shouldn’t be as good as us and in fact I was much quicker than a lot of people around me.
“Some drivers were already closing doors on the first lap. On the second lap and the third lap, I’m like ‘are you going to be doing that for 13 laps?’ Obviously, they made mistakes then.
“Anyway, it was good fun for me because I was overtaking and enjoying myself to be honest, and I could see a good performance and a good balance from the car, until some alarms came up on the dashboard.
“There’s not much we could do, we just had to hope it would go, and unfortunately a failure had us stopped.
“This is very unfortunate and this is not the way I wanted to start the championship. As you know, my goal is to fight for the championship, and this is not the best way.”
Guerrieri added that the team was still investigating the causes of the two engine failures in the first race.
“It was a good start, and then I was only trying to hold on to position and see how the race would develop,” said the Argentine.
“But then the problem happened with the engine, unfortunately. We still don’t know exactly what, but it looks like we just blew then engine up.”