Tiago Monteiro’s guide to a lap of the WTCC track
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.
“Up hill from the start is very bumpy and flat out to Turn 3. The first braking is for Turn 4, which is taken in fourth gear. It’s very fast actually but very blind because the guardrails are quite high and you cannot see very well.
“You lift off a little bit for Turn 5 and you arrive at an important and difficult braking point because the track jumps, it’s bumpy with a low grip level and you slow down to second or third gear to an important acceleration and traction point.
“Turn 7 is a very fast left corner, not flat but close to being flat with a small lift. It’s very fast up the hill heading to what is for me the nicest part of the track, the long sequence of Turns 8, 9 and 10. It’s fast, challenging with a little bit of camber, which gives more grip.
“The new chicane at Turn 11 should be a bit faster and wider. It’s taken in second gear and the exit will be very important because you are heading downhill to the longest straight after the fast Turn 16 and through Turn 17.
“Braking downhill for Turn 18 is very tricky and the hardest part of the track. It’s bumpy, blind and fast – everything you want really! It’s also very tricky braking for the chicane at Turn 19 because you’re still going downhill.
“Traction is very important here because Turns 21 and 22 are flat. Turn 23 is another tricky point because you are turning while you are braking but the exit is very wide, which makes Turns 24 and 25 quite easy. But Turn 26 is tricky, the difficult roundabout chicane, where you are braking and turning at the same time, which is one of the characteristics of the track. There is not a lot of straight braking in Vila Real and that makes the car very unstable in places.
“Turn 29 isn’t used at the start but during the race. It’s the slowest corner on the track and important to get good traction on the exit for the climb up the hill.”
Tiago Monteiro’s track punishment rating:“While the track is a 3/5 because the kerbs are not so tough, the punishment level for drivers is definitely 5/5!”
This interview was first published in June 2016