Stories of the first WTCR year: Drivers form guard of honour as Monteiro returns after 415 days of fighting
Tiago Monteiro was back competing again at WTCR JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan after 415 days of fighting to recover from serious head and neck injuries sustained in a testing crash in Spain.
In emotional scenes on the opening day of action at Suzuka, drivers from the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO formed a guard of honour in the pit lane. They then watched Monteiro take to the track for Free Practice 1 before following the Portuguese on to the 5.807-kilometre circuit.
Speaking on live intercom, the Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda driver said: “This is a very emotional time, to come back after 14 months. I am trying to focus on practice, but there are a lot of emotions, so many. I’ve got tears in my eyes. I’ve had an unbelievable reception from everyone in the WTCR Eurosport family. I’ve been dreaming about this for so long and now we are here. That is why I am in love with this sport and this championship.”
Monteiro’s first flying lap was a 2m16.453s although the ex-grand prix racer insisted before the travelling to Japan that performance was secondary to reacclimatising to the rigours of World Touring Car racing.
Click here to watch Monteiro’s emotional return.