Why one WTCR podium won’t do for Monteiro
Tiago Monteiro doesn’t want to complete a second WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup season with a solitary podium to show for his efforts.
The Honda-powered Portuguese took second place in Race 3 at WTCR Race of Hungary last October, but was otherwise a top-three absentee in 2020 at the wheel of his Goodyear-equipped Honda Civic Type R TCR.
“The results were not what I wanted but, overall, the performance was actually not that bad,” Monteiro said of his 2020 campaign in an ALL-INK.DE Münnich Motorsport-entered Civic. “I just couldn’t really show it many times because of mistakes, a lack of performance at a certain track or the rules of the team.
“We are a team and we are a strong team together and at one point we have to work for whoever is leading the ranking. Even if you are able to do a bit better you can’t because you have to think about the whole picture which is winning the Teams’ title and taking one of the Honda drivers to the overall title. I’m fine with this but for sure we have to sacrifice sometimes. It is a bit what happened last year, but for sure it’s down to me to perform better at the beginning.”
Monteiro reckons his DNF at WTCR Race of Belgium triggered a frustrating run of results.
“I had the engine problem in the first weekend and three races with a very weak engine so it was a nightmare until we changed it,” Monteiro said. “We were going to change it for Slovakia but then we didn’t and it was a big mistake because I was nowhere. I was losing five-tenths on the straights to my team-mates so it was a really frustrating. Then we changed it for Budapest and that’s when the performance came right away. It’s a little bit my fault not to have pressured more to do the change, but we take the decisions altogether and we thought we could live with it.”
And had it not been for helping his fellow Honda-powered driver Esteban Guerrieri’s title quest in Hungary, which was being hampered by the Argentine having to nurse a battle-scared Civic in Race 3, a second WTCR career victory was possible, Monteiro believes.
“Definitely, I was on the back of Esteban for the whole of Race 3,” said Monteiro. “If I wanted to, I could have taken the fight for the win but these are the rules and you have to follow them. I’m okay with that and I’ve been on the other side where the team is helping me. It’s how it works. Anyway, from Budapest onwards the performance was better. But it’s such a tough series and you can’t leave anything to chance.”
The 2021 WTCR season is due to get underway on the 25.378-kilometre Nürburgring Nordschleife for WTCR Race of Germany from June 3-5.