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Remembering when… Monteiro won at home in the WTCC

Remembering when… Monteiro won at home in the WTCC

18/06/2017 12:00

Tiago Monteiro got his faltering season firmly back on track with an emotional home win in the FIA World Touring Car Championship on 26 June 2016.

Portugal’s erstwhile title leader had been on the back foot following exclusion in Morocco and a spectacular crash in Germany. But it all came good for the Honda ace on the challenging streets of Vila Real.

Despite the race-long attentions of Citroën’s Yvan Muller, Monteiro, who started from the DHL pole, did not crack under pressure to win the Main Race from Muller and Honda team-mate Norbert Michelisz.

“This is a moment that I will remember forever, I will keep in my head, in my heart, it was obviously a very emotional and very important moment,” Monteiro said at the time. “For this to happen today of course you need a great team behind you, great people, hard work and today the opportunity came to me. And today, this weekend it was such an important moment of course. A lot of people for Honda Japan, very high level people here to see this great event. Of course the support that I’ve been getting for the last few months building up to this event has been crazy, and I can feel it today. To win your home race it’s just unbelievable, people who have done it know what it means and I could hear people in the car, I mean we have engines, we have earplugs and I could hear people shouting in the last few laps so that’s the only time that I lose a bit of focus because I could hear them really shouting but it was okay. I’m going to enjoy this moment for a long time.”

In the Opening Race, privateer driver Tom Coronel scored his second victory of 2016 for ROAL Motorsport with Tom Chilton making it two independent WTCC Trophy drivers in the top two. Nicky Catsburg completed the podium for LADA as Sébastien Loeb Racing put the WTCC Teams’ Trophy beyond doubt thanks to Chilton and Mehdi Bennani’s strong performances.

Rob Huff extended the Honda celebrations by winning the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy, the Briton setting a new lap record with a 1m58.385s best in the Main Race. Thed Björk, partnered at Polestar Cyan Racing by Robert Dahlgren for the first time, scored points in both races. World champion José María López bagged two fifths to maintain his push for a third crown.

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With climbs and dips, sweeping turns, blind corners and fast straights, the Circuito Internacional de Vila Real provides a big challenge for the FIA World Touring Car Championship drivers. Home hero Tiago Monteiro is your guide to the 4.785-kilometre lap.

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WTCC Race of Portugal takes place at the legendary Vila Real street circuit from 23-25 June. Here are essential facts and stats ahead of the hugely popular – and very challenging – FIA World Touring Car Championship counter.