WTCR heroes: #1 Tiago Monteiro
Each week, FIAWTCR.com will highlight a hero of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup. First up is Honda-powered Tiago Monteiro.
Date of birth: 24/07/1976
Car: Honda Civic Type R TCR
WTCR starts: 33
WTCR wins: 1
WTCR pole positions: 1
WTCR laps led: 12
WTCR points: 109
Who is he? Starting out in the French Porsche Cup in 1997, Monteiro starred in the country’s Formula 3 championship before climbing up the ranks, gaining experience – and plaudits – in Formula 3000, Champ Car and World Series by Nissan. He then earned national hero status when he became the first Portuguese to finish on a Formula One podium after placing third for Jordan in the 2005 US Grand Prix. He was a WTCC frontrunner from the moment he joined the championship with SEAT in 2007 and is set for a second full season in what is now WTCR driving a Honda Civic Type R TCR for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport.
What makes him a hero? Having excelled during the first half of the 2017 WTCC season, Monteiro was on course for the title with the Asian leg of the season remaining only to suffer serious head and neck injuries in a testing crash at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in September of that year. It brought an abrupt end to his campaign and left him fearing he’d never race again.
Monteiro subsequently fought a courageous, albeit arduous battle to regain fitness – and be allowed to compete again – with his return in Free Practice 1 at WTCR JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan in October 2018 coming 415 days after the accident. He scored an impressive weekend-best P11 on his comeback, his rival drivers marking his return to action by forming a guard of honour before he ventured out on track for the first time. Then, during his first full season since his terrible testing accident, Monteiro scored a hugely popular and emotional home win on the streets of Vila Real last July.
Who are his heroes? “I’m not going to mention any WTCR names so I’ll go for Benoît Tréluyer and James Hunt. Benoît was my first team-mate in single-seaters and he’s a very good friend, I really appreciate him as a person and he’s a brilliant driver. It’s not like I’m crazy about James Hunt but you had to like his attitude and his approach to motorsport.”