Monteiro takes opening weekend points

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SR-Sport's Tiago Monteiro scored points in the second race of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, during the opening weekend of the championship at Curitiba in Brazil.

Tiago, taking the wheel of the Seat Leon TDi for the first time since the end of the 2009 WTCC season, and the first time since Seat Sport officially withdrew from the series, so Monteiro had to get used to his new team.

After the opening race which saw Monteiro finish just outside the points in 11th, Race 2 provided a better chance to score points. Monteiro took advantage of the standing start and made up three positions on the opening lap of the race, and further into the race, Monteiro passed WTCC Rookie Michel Nykjaer for seventh.

After this, Monteiro was involved in the battle for 5th with BMW Team RBM driver Augusto Farfus Jnr, and took the chequered flag in 7th place, but only 4 seconds off a podium position.

After the race, Monteiro said: “I did secure some points and it is a good thing, but we have to work hard on the car. We had braking problems all weekend long, we are resolving them right now but they definitely made the weekend even harder. We will have some upgrades for the fifth race but we need more time to be more competitive. We need to be more confident when we’re driving the car in order to be able to push hard and to win more positions.”

The first race of the 2010 season was on a wet but drying circuit, and Monteiro had trouble controlling his Seat Leon TDi in the corners, as did his fellow SR-Sport drivers. Before an off track excursion at the opening corner, Monteiro had climbed his way into the top 10. Monteiro explained what the problem was: “The line was really slippery. I tried to push hard in the opening stage when my tyres were very good but I ended up braking a bit too late in the first chicane and I lost quite a lot of time. Having said that, this weekend allowed us to gather some precious data that will be useful after such a long time away from the track.”

Monteiro and team mate Gabriele Tarquini were both carrying a sticker on the side of the Seat Leon TDi's, trying to help find a bone marrow transplant for 6 year old Afonso Couto, the son of Macanese based Andre Couto.

Tom Coronel and BMW Team RBM's Andy Priaulx also joined the campaign to help the youngster, Coronel had a sticker saying “Be a bone marrow doner” while Priaulx was promoting the collection of blood for a compatibility test, which will happen on the 11th March.

Monteiro's next race will be on the 1st and 2nd May, in Marrakesh, subject to the WTCC organisers officially confirming the postponement of Puebla, on the 11th April.

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