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Tiago Monteiro Q&A: Hero plans return in WTCR

2018-07-02T10:09:34+02:00July 2nd, 2018|2018|

Tiago Monteiro has announced his intention to return to racing almost a year since he suffered serious head, eye and upper body injuries in a testing accident at Barcelona.

The Portuguese hero, who has been frustrated not to be competing in the inaugural WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO this year, was a popular figure at last month’s WTCR Race of Portugal in Vila Real, where he remains a fan favourite.

He spoke at length about the devastating injuries he sustained, his remarkable recovery and his plans to make a comeback later this year.

Q:
Tiago, tell us about your good news.

TM:
The good news is I’m actually coming back. This is a great opportunity, a really good second chance and therefore we want to make the most out of it. After many exams, many talks with my doctors, with the FIA doctors, we analysed all 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.

Q:
How are you feeling?

TM:
It’s been a small miracle that I’ve recovered my vision. It is not 100 percent, but it’s not affecting anything I do day to day. My cervical is also very well, my shoulder, everything is 100 per cent. But the head trauma that I had was much bigger than we initially thought. Therefore, everybody recommends a minimum of 11 to 12 months of no impacts, so we cannot risk racing right now.

Q:
So when will you return to racing?

TM:
We are almost at that time where I can come back, so my focus and my goals are really towards the end of the season to prepare for 2019, and I must say, it is an amazing pleasure and relief to be able to say that. I know that I will race again. We’re almost there. It’s going to be 10 months next week, so it’s a matter of one to two months if everything goes according to plan and evolves well. There should be no reason I don’t come back. My tests have been quite positive.

Q:
Have you always expected to race again, particularly in the first months following your accident?

TM:
The probability of coming back was very small. The first thing was to have a normal life, which is great and I’m so grateful for that. But of course, the second step is something that’s my dream. My life is to race.

Q:
You have already returned to testing. How has it been going?

TM:
So far I have done five or six days of testing; two days alone and two to three days with many cars on track. Once you put your helmet on, you don’t think about anything else. It was very important to drive with other cars because you don’t need to use your full vision when you’re alone, but if you have a car side-by-side, it’s important to be able to see where he is. That’s the reason why we wanted to test with other cars.

Q:
Did everything feel familiar when you first drove again?

TM:
Yes, that’s the crazy thing. When I came back to the car it was seven or eight months after the crash. In 20 years of racing I’ve never stopped for so long, so that was also weird. After half a day, not even that, it felt like just last week that I last drove.

Click here for the full Q&A in English language only.