Tiago Monteiro capped off an encouraging return to the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup with a double finish at Suzuka in front of a massed Japanese crowd at Honda’s home circuit on Sunday.

The Boutsen Ginion Racing driver battled hard for points in Race Three in his Civic Type R TCR and finished just 0.2 seconds away from the top 10 to complete an emotional comeback weekend for the Portuguese.

Team-mate Tom Coronel, who was inundated with support all weekend, made excellent progress in both races. The Dutchman flew from 21st on the grid to finishing positions of 19th and 14th to complete a treble finish.

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher started Race Two from 12th spot, but gained positions throughout the 10 laps to finish ninth.

The Frenchman made another rocket getaway to move up from fourth to second at the start of Race Three, but was denied a podium finish after developing a power issue mid-race.

Team-mate Esteban Guerrieri was another to start strongly, but the Argentinian was unlucky to be spun into the wall on the opening lap of Race Two at the Esses by a rival driver.

After superb work by the team to fix the damaged car within the Repair Time window, Esteban was able to start Race Three from his rightful grid spot. He climbed from 11th to sixth, but was hit again and dropped to 19th by the chequered flag.

Timo Scheider completed a treble-finish of his own. The German finished 16th in Race Two and improved to 13th in Race Three, within two seconds of the points.

The weekend results, achieved in front of a crowd of 42,500, means Esteban is sixth in the WTCR points and retains a chance of becoming champion at the season finale on the streets of Macau in November. Münnich are third in the Teams’ points.

Tiago Monteiro

Tiago Monteiro 18

“What a weekend! I came here without any targets set publicly, but privately I needed to prove I could be competitive straight away. The team have been fantastic in improving the car from day to day and I genuinely think that if this had been a normal weekend, with second qualifying on the same day as Races Two and Three, I could have got into the top 10 on the grid. It’s felt amazing to be back all weekend and I’m very pleased with how everything’s gone. It’s a great starting point for 2019.”

Boutsen Ginion Racing
Tom Coronel

Tom Coronel 9

“We made some good progress through the weekend and you can see the evidence of this from the race results. I’m quite happy with the handling and I have more confidence to push than in previous weekends. We do still need to improve in qualifying. This championship is so tight that even a small gain in time can put you many positions further up on the grid. If I’d started on the seventh row – which could have been possible without the red flag in qualifying – I think the races would have been even better.”

Boutsen Ginion Racing
Yann Ehrlacher

Yann Ehrlacher 68

“The handling of the Honda has been very good today and after I went up from fourth to second at the start of Race Three, I was confident of finishing on the podium for the first time since Zandvoort. Unfortunately, I lost the power and had to stop, but that’s motorsport and that can happen. It was especially disappointing because the guys have worked so hard to improve the car from FP1, but unfortunately the results just didn’t come our way this weekend.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Esteban Guerrieri

Esteban Guerrieri 86

“Today has been very tough for me and the whole team. I made a great start in Race Two, was turned into the wall by [Medhi] Bennani and when I spoke to him afterwards he said he didn’t see me, even though he was directly behind me! The guys did a great job to get me out for Race Three and I got up from 11th to sixth, but the front tyres went off quite early, [Yvan] Muller hit me again – just like in qualifying – and I lost all the grip from the front, so I finished near the back. I’ll try to finish the season with a strong result in Macau.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Timo Scheider

Timo Scheider 42

“Race Three is the most fun I’ve had in a WTCR race by a long way. It was action all the way to the chequered flag and I always had someone to race with. There were a lot of cars in the battle for sixth place, including me, and I was competitive in the first two sectors of the lap. My strategy was to look after my tyres early on, and while some other cars were struggling with grip in the late stages and couldn’t put the power down out of the slow corners, that’s where I was able to make some gains. I missed the points by 1.2 seconds, so I’m determined to score before the end of the season.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Olivia Boutsen

Olivia Boutsen

Team Manager

“It’s been a fantastic return by Tiago and the pace he’s shown has been extremely encouraging. Fighting for the points on your first meeting back after more than a year out is excellent. Tom’s done a good job today as well and has finished higher than he started in both races. Neither car has taken any damage, which is very helpful because there are only a few weeks to Macau. We need to work on our strategy and speed in qualifying and not put ourselves in a position to need to fight back.”

Boutsen Ginion Racing
Dominik Greiner

Dominik Greiner

Team Manager

“It’s been an extremely tough day for us. After Esteban was put into the wall in Race Two, his car had quite a lot of damage, but the team did an incredible job to get the car ready for Race Three within the very short Repair Time available. It’s such a shame for them that Yann has lost a pretty certain second place in Race Three after he had an issue with the car, and that Esteban – after a really amazing drive to climb to sixth – wasn’t able to score this result. One pleasing thing is that Timo’s had three trouble-free races and has been quite close to the points in Race Three.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
WTCR Race of Japan

Suzuka Circuit, Japan

WTCR 2018, Round 9

Sunday 28 Oct 2018, 04:07 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Total Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Gabriele Tarquini 30 ITA 30 25 BRC Racing Team Hyundai 11 laps
2 Aurelien Comte 7 AND 23 20 DG Sport Competition Peugeot +1.577
3 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA 19 16 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +2.024
4 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR 16 13 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +3.140
5 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA 13 11 Comtoyou Racing Audi +3.674
6 Rob Huff 12 GBR 10 10 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +13.728
7 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL 7 9 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +18.296
8 Thed Björk 11 SWE 4 8 YMR Hyundai +19.963
9 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN 2 7 BRC Racing Team Hyundai +20.694
10 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA 1 6 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +23.015
11 Tiago Monteiro 18 POR 0 5 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +23.259
12 John Filippi 27 FRA 0 4 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +23.660
13 Timo Scheider 42 GER 0 3 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +24.238
14 Tom Coronel 9 NDL 0 2 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +24.639
15 Mato Homola 70 SLK 0 1 DG Sport Competition Peugeot +27.312
16 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR 0 0 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +27.956
17 Norbert Nagy 8 HUN 0 0 Zengo Motorsport Cupra +28.645
18 Pepe Oriola 74 SPA 0 0 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +37.050.
19 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG 0 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +39.948
20 Nathanael Berthon 23 FRA 0 0 Comtoyou Racing Audi +1 lap
21 Yvan Muller 48 FRA 0 0 YMR Hyundai +1 lap
22 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA 0 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +DNF
23 Denis Dupont 20 BEL 0 0 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +DNF
24 Luigi Ferrara 16 ITA 0 0 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +DNF
25 Zsolt Szabo 66 HUN 0 0 Zengo Motorsport Cupra +DNF
Sunday 28 Oct 2018, 02:40 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Total Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Rob Huff 12 GBR 25 25 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 10 laps
2 Pepe Oriola 74 SPA 18 20 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +1.444
3 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN 15 16 BRC Racing Team Hyundai +1.938
4 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA 12 13 Comtoyou Racing Audi +7.685
5 Gabriele Tarquini 30 ITA 10 11 BRC Racing Team Hyundai +8.984
6 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA 8 10 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +9.418
7 Aurelien Comte 7 AND 6 9 DG Sport Competition Peugeot +11.749
8 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR 4 8 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +12.186
9 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA 2 7 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +13.894
10 Yvan Muller 48 FRA 1 6 YMR Hyundai +14.127
11 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL 0 5 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +14.594
12 Thed Björk 11 SWE 0 4 YMR Hyundai +14.760
13 Denis Dupont 20 BEL 0 3 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +15.960
14 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA 0 2 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +17.632
15 Tiago Monteiro 18 POR 0 1 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +18.135
16 Timo Scheider 42 GER 0 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +19.010
17 Nathanael Berthon 23 FRA 0 0 Comtoyou Racing Audi +19.803
18 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR 0 0 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +20.603
19 Tom Coronel 9 NDL 0 0 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +21.176
20 Mato Homola 70 SLK 0 0 DG Sport Competition Peugeot +21.646
21 Norbert Nagy 8 HUN 0 0 Zengo Motorsport Cupra +23.111
22 John Filippi 27 FRA 0 0 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +1 lap
23 Luigi Ferrara 16 ITA 0 0 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +DNF
24 Zsolt Szabo 66 HUN 0 0 Zengo Motorsport Cupra +DNF
25 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG 0 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +DNF
Saturday 27 Oct 2018, 07:00 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Total Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA 27 25 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 11 laps
2 Aurelien Comte 7 AND 20 20 DG Sport Competition Peugeot +0.728
3 Yvan Muller 48 FRA 17 16 YMR Hyundai +1.319
4 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG 14 13 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +1.759
5 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR 12 11 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +2.157
6 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA 10 10 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +3.609
7 Mato Homola 70 SLK 8 9 DG Sport Competition Peugeot +4.248
8 Gabriele Tarquini 30 ITA 6 8 BRC Racing Team Hyundai +4.583
9 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL 4 7 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +5.409
10 Pepe Oriola 74 SPA 2 6 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +5.634
11 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN 0 5 BRC Racing Team Hyundai +6.006
12 Nathanael Berthon 23 FRA 0 4 Comtoyou Racing Audi +6.415
13 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA 0 3 Comtoyou Racing Audi +6.807
14 Luigi Ferrara 16 ITA 0 2 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +7.178
15 Tiago Monteiro 18 POR 0 1 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +7.816
16 Denis Dupont 20 BEL 0 0 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +8.513
17 Tom Coronel 9 NDL 0 0 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +10.108
18 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR 0 0 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +10.723
19 Timo Scheider 42 GER 0 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +12.858
20 John Filippi 27 FRA 0 0 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +14.083
21 Zsolt Szabo 66 HUN 0 0 Zengo Motorsport Cupra +18.297
22 Norbert Nagy 8 HUN 0 0 Zengo Motorsport Cupra +33.515
23 Rob Huff 12 GBR 0 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +4 laps
24 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA 0 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +DNF
25 Thed Björk 11 SWE 0 0 YMR Hyundai +DNF
Friday 26 Oct 2018, 08:31 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Total Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA 5 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2:10.742
2 Gabriele Tarquini 30 ITA 4 BRC Racing Team Hyundai +2:11.441
3 Aurelien Comte 7 AND 3 DG Sport Competition Peugeot +2:11.635
4 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA 2 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:11.746
5 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR 1 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +2:13.608
6 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA 0 Comtoyou Racing Audi +2:11.853
7 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN 0 BRC Racing Team Hyundai +2:11.855
8 Denis Dupont 20 BEL 0 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +2:11.886
9 Rob Huff 12 GBR 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +2:11.981
10 Pepe Oriola 74 SPA 0 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +2:12.001
11 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:12.001
12 Yvan Muller 48 FRA 0 YMR Hyundai +No time
13 Thed Björk 11 SWE 0 YMR Hyundai +2:12.302
14 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL 0 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +2:12.326
15 Mato Homola 70 SLK 0 DG Sport Competition Peugeot +2:12.365
16 Tiago Monteiro 18 POR 0 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +2:12.454
17 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA 0 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +2:12.555
18 Timo Scheider 42 GER 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:12.614
19 Nathanael Berthon 23 FRA 0 Comtoyou Racing Audi +2:12.664
20 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR 0 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +2:12.702
21 Luigi Ferrara 16 ITA 0 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +2:12.792
22 John Filippi 27 FRA 0 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +2:13.084
23 Tom Coronel 9 NDL 0 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +2:13.151
24 Norbert Nagy 8 HUN 0 Zengo Motorsport Cupra +2:13.270
25 Zsolt Szabo 66 HUN 0 Zengo Motorsport Cupra +2:15.297
Friday 26 Oct 2018, 05:45 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Aurelien Comte 7 AND DG Sport Competition Peugeot 2:11.536
2 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +2:11.643
3 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:11.708
4 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:11.872
5 Gabriele Tarquini 30 ITA BRC Racing Team Hyundai +2:12.109
6 Yvan Muller 48 FRA YMR Hyundai +2:12.114
7 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +2:12.168
8 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN BRC Racing Team Hyundai +2:12.258
9 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +2:12.312
10 Mato Homola 70 SLK DG Sport Competition Peugeot +2:12.318
11 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +2:12.342
12 Pepe Oriola 74 SPA Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +2:12.455
13 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA Comtoyou Racing Audi +2:12.492
14 Nathanael Berthon 23 FRA Comtoyou Racing Audi +2:12.504
15 Rob Huff 12 GBR Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +2:12.553
16 Luigi Ferrara 16 ITA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +2:12.742
17 Thed Björk 11 SWE YMR Hyundai +2:12.764
18 Timo Scheider 42 GER ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:12.876
19 John Filippi 27 FRA Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +2:12.877
20 Tiago Monteiro 18 POR Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +2:13.020
21 Denis Dupont 20 BEL Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +2:13.033
22 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +2:13.071
23 Tom Coronel 9 NDL Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +2:13.616
24 Zsolt Szabo 66 HUN Zengo Motorsport Cupra +2:14.211
25 Norbert Nagy 8 HUN Zengo Motorsport Cupra +2:14.936
Driver Standings
Sunday, 28 Oct 2018
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Gabriele TARQUINI 30 ITA 291 BRC Racing Team Hyundai
2 Yvan MULLER 48 FRA 252 YMR Hyundai
3 Thed BJöRK 11 SWE 238 YMR Hyundai
4 Pepe ORIOLA 74 SPA 227 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra
5 Jean-Karl VERNAY 69 FRA 216 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi
6 Esteban GUERRIERI 86 ARG 213 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda
7 Norbert MICHELISZ 5 HUN 212 BRC Racing Team Hyundai
8 Frederic VERVISCH 22 BEL 203 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi
9 Rob HUFF 12 GBR 197 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen
10 Aurelien COMTE 7 AND 191 DG Sport Competition Peugeot
11 Yann EHRLACHER 68 FRA 182 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda
12 Mehdi BENNANI 25 MAR 154 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen
13 Gordon SHEDDEN 52 GBR 122 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi
14 Kevin CECCON 31 ITA 83 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo
15 Nathanael BERTHON 23 FRA 71 Comtoyou Racing Audi
16 Denis DUPONT 20 BEL 69 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi
17 Aurélien PANIS 21 FRA 53 Comtoyou Racing Audi
18 Benjamin LESSENNES 63 BEL 48 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda
19 Mato HOMOLA 70 SLK 46 DG Sport Competition Peugeot
20 Dániel NAGY HUN 36 M1RA Hyundai
21 James THOMPSON 15 GBR 36 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda
22 Tom CORONEL 9 NDL 24 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda
23 Fabrizio GIOVANARDI 88 ITA 19 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo
24 Norbert NAGY 8 HUN 18 Zengo Motorsport Cupra
25 John FILIPPI 27 FRA 14 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra
26 Petr FULIN 44 CZE 13 Fullin Race Academy Cupra
27 Rene RAST 33 GER 10 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi
28 Qing Hua MA 55 CHN 7 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda
29 Zsolt SZABO 66 HUN 4 Zengo Motorsport Cupra