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.