Rally / 30 June 2013
FIA WTCC: LOCAL BOY MONTEIRO RACES HONDA INTO WTCC POINTSPortuguese racing star Tiago Monteiro thrilled his thousands of fans with a Sunday morning drive with a difference! Having been forced through technical problems to start Race 1 of the WTCC event here in sunny Porto from virtually the back of the grid on the 17th place, he drove a magical race to move into 9th position on the very last lap to earn valuable championship points.
Cheers and applause from the team and spectators greeted him as he brought the Castrol Honda Civic back to the pits for an emotional welcome. Climbing out of the car he received a big hug from his father and further praise from his mechanics and team.
?My total plan was to stay out of trouble from the start. There was a little encounter in front of me on lap 1 but I was clear and already gaining places. I was up to 13th at the end of the first lap and then got another place on lap 2. It was then a long drive home hoping that something big would happen in front. Only on the lap 9 did I get a break when the safety car came out and the field bunched up. I got into position for a final charge and got past Nash and Basseng in the same move and crossed the line within the top 10. I guess I could not have done much more. The Honda ran perfectly and as I said before we keep fighting always for points and results.?
Honda hopes had been pinned on Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz from the front of the grid. Both got good starts with Gabriele fourth in the leading bunch at the end of the first lap and Norbert 6th. The Hungarian unfortunately collected a puncture on lap 2 and brushed the close and solid walls damaging the suspension and putting the Zengo Motorsport Civic out of action. He is confident to be ready for the second race. Tarquini was closing in on third place as the race progressed until on lap 8 the turbocharger failed forcing the number 3 Civic to stop. The Castrol Honda team will have just 15 minutes to change the unit prior to the start of race 2 which may force Tarquini to start from pit-road.
?The turbocharger uses the hot exhaust gases to spin a turbine that forces the air and fuel mix into the engine at greater than atmospheric pressure,? explains Daisuke Horiuchi. Large Project Leader for WTCC development from Honda R & D. ?The exhaust temperature was running at 1,100 degrees C. We will reduce this by 50 degrees for race 2.?
Race 2 in WTCC events reverses the grid position only for the top 1 cars from qualifying so Tiago will have to repeat his superb drive all over again but this is sure to please the many, many local race fans who have crowded into the Boavista circuit to see their hero drive his Honda Civic flat out for results.