WTCR drivers form guard of honour as Monteiro returns after 415 days...

WTCR drivers form guard of honour as Monteiro returns after 415 days of fighting

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Tiago Monteiro
photo Francois Flamand / WTCR

Tiago Monteiro is back competing again after 415 days of fighting to recover from serious head and neck injuries sustained in a testing crash in Spain.

In emotional scenes at WTCR Race of Japan this morning, drivers from the WTCR formed a guard of honour in the Suzuka pit lane. They then watched Monteiro take to the Suzuka track for Free Practice 1 before following the Portuguese on to the 5.807-kilometre circuit.

Speaking over live intercom, the Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda driver said: “This is a very emotional time, to come back after 14 months. I am trying to focus on practice, but there are a lot of emotions, so many. I’ve got tears in my eyes, I’ve had an unbelievable reception from everyone in the WTCR Eurosport family. I’ve been dreaming about this for so long and now we are here. That is why I am in love with this sport and this championship.”

Tiago Monteiro
photo Francois Flamand / WTCR

Monteiro’s first flying lap was a 2m16.453s although the ex-grand prix racer insisted before the travelling to Japan that performance was secondary to reacclimatising to the rigours of World Touring Car racing.

François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, the WTCR promoter, said: “This was a very emotional moment not just for Tiago but for everyone at Honda and the entire WTCR family. We are so happy he’s back where he belongs on track in a racing car.”

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