Tiago Monteiro his home rounds of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup firmly in the title fight following his season-opening victory in Germany. Ahead of WTCR Race of Portugal at Circuito do Estoril, this is what the Honda-powered ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport driver has had to say.
You had a brilliant start to the season at the Nürburgring and you’re number two in the standings, not a bad place to be coming into your home race?"Definitely a very good position to be in to start the season, it’s better to start like that, definitely, and I will take it. We had a good performance in the Nordschleife, we were always strong there and it’s good to confirm that and even improve so I will take that win and take those points. Now we are starting at more traditional race tracks and we will see where everybody is at. It’s a place I know but I haven’t raced here that many times. I’ve been doing a lot of events and track days but my last race was in 2009. I like the track, it is quite a technical one, very diverse and with the heat it will be interesting to see where we’re at. We’re very pumped up and very motivated to do a good show. It’s great to be back home, of course, unfortunately without the public but that’s the way it is. We’ll try to do a good show on TV and continue the good championship we have started."

Usually, you have strong performances in Portugal, is that due to your knowledge of the tracks or your sheer motivation for winning at home?"None of those actually. I think the motivation is strong, but I try to be strong everywhere whether it’s in China or Germany or wherever. We are professionals and we want to perform everywhere. I think the main thing was we were strong in Vila Real because our car was very strong in street tracks. If you look at Vila Real, Macau, Marrkaech for example we were always strong and I like street tracks. It is a good benefit for us to be in these rough tracks with these high kerbs, etc, etc. But having said that I have won also in Estoril and won in Portimão so maybe the knowledge of the track helps a little bit. But when you look at the competitors they have all been here many times and we all know the track very well so I think it’s a combination of all this."

Did the upgrades you made during the winter work as expected?"Yeah, definitely. We’ve been working every winter to try to improve the car. We have the oldest car on the grid and we worked hard to develop as much as possible what is possible to do and, yes, the improvements so far have been good. As I said the Nordschleife is an atypical track and we’re looking forward to seeing where we are exactly in more regular race tracks."

How will the weather effect you and the car this weekend?"Of course the tyres will suffer, the drivers will as well and always a little bit the mechanic part. When it’s hot like this, everybody struggles. Heads get hotter, everybody gets a bit more tired and mistakes can happen, both from a mechanic, a driver or a mechanical problem and it happens easier when everything gets very hot. This can have an influence but it’s a similar situation for everybody and we have to make the best job possible, better than them."

Do you feel that if you have a strong weekend you could be Honda’s best driver for the title fight?"Definitely. Of course, that’s my goal. We all start with a clean slate at the beginning of the season and we know that the first few races are very important for the status in the teams. We know this is a drivers’ series but also we need to work for the brand and once you have the positioning of drivers inside the team it’s logical that everybody works to help that. I definitely want to maintain this position and keep on going. That’s my goal definitely."

With thanks to Fábio Mendes,AutoSport
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