Tiago Monteiro got off on the right foot on Valencia's Ricardo Tormo circuit, a track where he has often been successful in recent years. Winner of one race in 2010, Tiago had the best time of a SEAT Leon (4th, behind an armada of Chevrolets) during the second free practice, two tenths of a second behind second place. At the end of qualifying, he had secured the 5th and 4th positions on the starting grid for both Spanish races, which is one of his best overall performances of the season along with Monza, where he started from the pole position. At Valencia, Tiago came to within 15 hundredths from the front row of the starting grid for the second race.
Despite some worries about the set-up of his Sun-Red 1.6 liter Turbo SEAT Leon, those worries soon gave way to an enormous sense of satisfaction in the end. "With used tyres, the sensations were not great and I had some difficulties in finding the right pace. But by switching to new tyres, the performance changed considerably, the car's behavior was excellent," Tiago explained. "For us, it's practically a win because we managed to get ahead of one Chevrolet and we are very close to two others."
Without going so far as to hope for a repeat of his 2010 exploits, Tiago is confident that he can be competitive when the SEAT Leon #18 car is set up in its race configuration. "I cannot make a comparison with last year, but we will put all our strengths into fighting from the start of the races with the hope of adding a good harvest of points to our current total. Temperatures will be high and that will be a real problem for performance and tyre management. But giving one's best is the watchword," concluded the Portuguese driver, who hopes to be able to recover his 4th place standing in the drivers' championship, which he held before two race weekends marked by misfortune.
The Valencia races will be broadcast live on Eurosport at 1:15 p.m. and 1:45 p.m.