Pre-season Q&A with Tiago Monteiro

One driver eager to get back on track is Honda Racing’s Tiago Monteiro, who sensationally won the opening race of the 2021 season in an ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR, but then missed the final two races of the season. season after developing a bacterial chest infection.

Now fully fit again, Tiago talks about his recovery, his continued role as a Honda Racing driver and his and teammate Attila Tassi’s move to Honda Racing’s new customer LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler for the 2022 season of the WTCR.

Question: It has been four months since you were forced to miss the final round of the 2021 WTCR season. How are you?

Tiago Monteiro: My recovery has gone very well. I had the whole month of December off, relaxing as much as possible and slowly recovering. In January I was able to start pushing my body and its limits a bit more. That was already going well, I still felt a bit more tired than usual, but nothing more than that, and by mid-February I was completely back to normal. It’s never nice to miss a race, but in hindsight it was good that it happened at the end of the season, so I had the winter to recover. If that kind of thing happens at the beginning of the season or in the middle of it, you’re really in trouble. But that period is almost forgotten now.

Q: This is your fourth year as a team with Attila Tassi. How do you two complement each other?

TM: Keeping up with Attila is great. We got along very well from the beginning, we are very close and we work well together. It’s a nice step to have this dual point of getting back to two cars, but being able to continue with Attila while he’s doing it is pretty cool too. He has been evolving a lot; he has always been fast, but he is younger and in the beginning it was maybe a little more raw. But he now he is almost there all the time. He’s pushing me to my limits, which is good, and that’s what you need. It is a positive competition and I appreciate it very much.

Q: Your teammate is the same, but you have both moved to LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler. What have you learned so far?

TM: It has been fantastic to welcome LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler to the Honda Racing family and start working with them. It is a very important deal with a new team, reaching a new brand, and I am very happy to be able to help the team with this transition. I think the choice was good because with my experience I can help them integrate into Honda quickly. I have been involved in many teams since I have been with Honda, first with JAS in the FIA ​​World Touring Car Championship, then with Boutsen Ginion Racing, KCMG, ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport and now LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler. in the WTCR. It is a great challenge. Engstler has really proven his expertise on and off the track for many years. It’s a great team, a strong team and a very professional team. I raced against Franz in the WTCC for many years, when I started in 2007 he was a competitor. He has always been a great gentleman and a great professional. Then he also became a very good team owner, so I’m glad I’ll finally be able to work directly with him. I want to welcome you back to the family, and I’m really looking forward to this new challenge.

Q: How much will the experience you and Attila have with the Honda Civic Type R TCR help?

TM: It’s the kind of thing you need to have, to be honest. It is almost mandatory. You can’t get to WTCR without some experience of the brand you’re working with, be it the drivers, the engineers or both. The level is too high, the competition is too strong and there is not enough time to learn and improve and get to the standard: you have to be focused immediately. The big starting point for the LIQUI MOLY Engstler team is how professional and experienced they are, but there are a lot of little details you can’t know about the car without working on it, so my work with Attila and the help of JAS Motorsport has already started to bring the engineers up to speed as quickly as possible, which is crucial in this pre-season testing period. This is a big part of our preparation, so I have no doubt that we will be ready for the first round.

Q: You have had your first tryout with the team. How did it go?

TM: We had a very good and productive two-day test at Most earlier this month. It was great meeting more of the team for the first time. In fact, Attila and I had the chance to start working with some of them separately over a couple of race days at a JAS Motorsport test at Cervesina last month, but it was good to do it in full at Most, albeit unfortunately we won’t. run there now, which of course is completely the right course of action because of the situation there and the help that the Czech Republic is giving to the displaced refugees. Just getting back to normal and starting to build off the preseason has been good, and we have more testing to fine-tune our preparation for the season.