The last FIA World Touring Car Championship race weekend held out an unforeseeable and unusual outcome for Tiago Monteiro. Beset by several difficulties, the SEAT León No. 18 car prevented its driver from expressing himself in the streets of Macau, where he had shined in the past. Fuel injector problems cut down the Portuguese driver's top speed by 15 km/h in the first race, and handicapped the car in acceleration phases. And then problems in the gearbox were piled onto these torments. The roadblocks to Tiago's competitiveness and that of his car were not able to be swept away between the two races, which were only a half hour apart.
"Starting in the warm-up lap, I knew my car was having problems. We first thought it was a fuel injection problem because we were slower. Then the gearbox started to show signs of fatigue and shifting gears became difficult. The team threw themselves headlong into changing the injector and the gearbox in the time we had between the two races but we only had ten minutes! Our problems only got worse after the start of the second race. It became clear that the motor was giving up the ghost...it was also clear that this was not the way I wanted to finish the championship, but these are the problems that occur in mechanical sports."
Despite a finale with an abrupt finish, Tiago preferred to remember the highlights of the season in which he contributed to SEAT's entering history with the conquest of the constructors' title. With two wins under his belt, Tiago made good progress in one of the rare FIA world championships.
"Experience is fundamental in the World Touring Car Championship. Some drivers have almost ten years' experience in this type of discipline and it makes a difference. As for me, I am certain that my 2nd year in the series was very profitable. I learned an awful lot from the contact with SEAT Sport and on the track, and my two wins are proof of my development and my quickness. The team did a fabulous job meeting its objectives and celebrating two world titles with Yvan Muller's victory. SEAT Sport has become an example of a winning team, and being part of it is a privilege. I also won't forget my win at Estoril, earned with the help of thousands of people. The Macau circuit is also fantastic, and despite the disappointment of not getting the result I was hoping for, the Guia circuit is one of my favourites."The second Macau race, where we counted more than ten DNFs, reminded everyone that the Guia circuit is uncompromising. But all eyes were on the first race, which enabled Yvan Muller to take the drivers' world title. Several new items will be on the agenda for the 2009 FIA WTCC regulations. The championship begins anew in four months at Curitiba, Brazil which will once again have the honour of hosting the first leg of the championship.