WTCR Vila Real: Tiago Montiero gets first win since injury return

KCMG's Tiago Monteiro claimed a home victory in the final World Touring Car Cup race at Vila Real, his first win since his comeback from a serious injury

WTCR Vila Real: Tiago Montiero gets first win since injury return

Monteiro took his Honda Civic Type R to victory by over two seconds from Yvan Muller to become the 11th different winner in 2019, and it was his first win since his testing crash at Barcelona almost two years ago.

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He crucially took the lead from his pole-sitting team-mate Attila Tassi on the fourth lap of 14.

Muller held off the attention of his Lynk & Co stablemate and nephew, Yann Ehrlacher, with race two winner Mikel Azcona fourth.

Esteban Guerrieri suffered another disappointing race, retiring after contact on the opening lap with the BRC Racing Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N of Nicky Catsburg.

Catstburg, who started seventh, made a great start and threatened to go all the way round Jean-Karl Vernay (Audi), Rob Huff (Volkswagen) and Guerrieri as the pack filed into Turn 4 for the first time.

The move nearly paid off but Catsburg, squeezed by both Guerrieri and the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo of Ma Qing Hua, hit the back of Guerrieri and put both out on the spot.

Guerreri's title rivals Thed Bjork of Cyan Racing Lynk & Co and BRC Racing Hyundai Norbert Michelisz both scored points, with the Michelisz now just 25 points behind.

"God knows how much we worked for that," said Monteiro. "We made the comeback after two years, and it was such a tough season so far. Of course, I always dreamt of making a huge comeback here, but to do it [this way] is unbelievable.

"Someone was watching out for me today."

Tassi had led from his maiden pole position but quickly fell into the grasps off the chasing Monteiro and Muller.

Under pressure from behind, Monteiro seized the lead on the entry to Turn 14 with Muller grabbing second on exit.

Tassi dropped as far down as 11th and eventually retired. Monteiro got his foot down in clear air and managed to take his joker lap and re-join in front of Muller at the start of lap seven.

The remaining laps were an ebb and flow between the two out front, with Muller the quicker driver in the two laps after Monteiro's joker.

But Monteiro found his rhythm and gapped Muller by nearly three seconds to run out a comfortable winner as Muller defended from team-mate Ehrlacher and Azcona.

Ehrlacher appeared the faster of the two Lynk & Cos heading into the closing stages and he radioed the team asking if Muller could go any quicker.

But Azcona did not have enough pace to mount a serious challenge and the positions remained the same at the flag.

Bjork claimed eighth, just ahead of Ma while Michelisz made amends for his race two non-score with 10th.

Johan Kristoffersson and Aurelien Panis profited from a late-race suspension failure for the Comtoyou Audi of Frederic Vervisch to finish 11th and 12th respectively.

Defending WTCR champion Gabriele Tarquini finished a miserable weekend for Hyundai with the final point in 15th.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Tiago Monteiro KCMG Honda 14 29m49.833s
2 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 14 2.295s
3 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 14 2.647s
4 Mikel Azcona PWR Racing Cupra 14 2.959s
5 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 14 6.816s
6 Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 14 6.999s
7 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda 14 10.041s
8 Thed Bjork Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 14 12.507s
9 Ma Qinghua Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 14 22.317s
10 Norbert Michelisz BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 14 22.596s
11 Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 14 23.570s
12 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 14 24.108s
13 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 14 24.900s
14 Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 14 24.916s
15 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 14 25.258s
16 Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Audi Audi 14 26.028s
17 Tom Coronel Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 14 26.602s
18 Benjamin Leuchter SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 14 37.092s
19 Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 14 1m44.342s
- Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Audi Audi 12 Retirement
- Daniel Haglof PWR Racing Cupra 7 Retirement
- Attila Tassi KCMG Honda 7 Retirement
- Augusto Farfus BRC Racing Team Hyundai 6 Retirement
- Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 1 Retirement
- Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 0 Retirement
- Nicky Catsburg BRC Racing Team Hyundai 0 Retirement

Drivers' championship

Pos Driver Points
1 Esteban Guerrieri 231
2 Norbert Michelisz 206
3 Thed Bjork 180
4 Nestor Girolami 175
5 Mikel Azcona 168
6 Yvan Muller 154
7 Yann Ehrlacher 148
8 Jean-Karl Vernay 140
9 Frederic Vervisch 136
10 Gabriele Tarquini 119
11 Augusto Farfus 119
12 Nicky Catsburg 117
13 Rob Huff 107
14 Ma Qinghua 102
15 Johan Kristoffersson 94
16 Benjamin Leuchter 86
17 Aurelien Panis 69
18 Tiago Monteiro 58
19 Kevin Ceccon 47
20 Tom Coronel 43
21 Andy Priaulx 42
22 Attila Tassi 39
23 Daniel Haglof 35
24 Niels Langeveld 30
25 Gordon Shedden 29
26 Mehdi Bennani 25

Teams' championship

Pos Team Points
1 All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport 406
2 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 334
3 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse 325
4 BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team 236
5 PWR Racing 203
6 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 190
7 SLR Volkswagen 180
8 Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport 169
9 Comtoyou Team Audi Sport 166
10 Team Mulsanne 149
11 SLR VW Motorsport 132
12 Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing 112
13 KCMG 97


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