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WTCR Vila Real: Tiago Montiero gets first win since injury return

Monteiro WTCR Vila Real 2019

KCMG's Tiago Monteiro claimed a home victory in the final World Touring Car Cup race at Vila Real, his first win since his comeback from a serious injury.

Monteiro took his Honda Civic Type R to victory by over two seconds from Yvan Muller to become the 11th different winner in 2019, and it was his first win since his testing crash at Barcelona almost two years ago.

A world champion in waiting's tortuous path to recovery

He crucially took the lead from his pole-sitting team-mate Attila Tassi on the fourth lap of 14.

Muller held off the attention of his Lynk & Co stablemate and nephew, Yann Ehrlacher, with race two winner Mikel Azcona fourth.

Esteban Guerrieri suffered another disappointing race, retiring after contact on the opening lap with the BRC Racing Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N of Nicky Catsburg.

Catstburg, who started seventh, made a great start and threatened to go all the way round Jean-Karl Vernay (Audi), Rob Huff (Volkswagen) and Guerrieri as the pack filed into Turn 4 for the first time.

The move nearly paid off but Catsburg, squeezed by both Guerrieri and the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo of Ma Qing Hua, hit the back of Guerrieri and put both out on the spot.

WTCR Vila Real 2019

Guerreri's title rivals Thed Bjork of Cyan Racing Lynk & Co and BRC Racing Hyundai Norbert Michelisz both scored points, with the Michelisz now just 25 points behind.

"God knows how much we worked for that," said Monteiro. "We made the comeback after two years, and it was such a tough season so far. Of course, I always dreamt of making a huge comeback here, but to do it [this way] is unbelievable.

"Someone was watching out for me today."

Tassi had led from his maiden pole position but quickly fell into the grasps off the chasing Monteiro and Muller.

Under pressure from behind, Monteiro seized the lead on the entry to Turn 14 with Muller grabbing second on exit.

Tassi dropped as far down as 11th and eventually retired. Monteiro got his foot down in clear air and managed to take his joker lap and re-join in front of Muller at the start of lap seven.

The remaining laps were an ebb and flow between the two out front, with Muller the quicker driver in the two laps after Monteiro's joker.

But Monteiro found his rhythm and gapped Muller by nearly three seconds to run out a comfortable winner as Muller defended from team-mate Ehrlacher and Azcona.

Ehrlacher appeared the faster of the two Lynk & Cos heading into the closing stages and he radioed the team asking if Muller could go any quicker.

But Azcona did not have enough pace to mount a serious challenge and the positions remained the same at the flag.

Bjork claimed eighth, just ahead of Ma while Michelisz made amends for his race two non-score with 10th.

Johan Kristoffersson and Aurelien Panis profited from a late-race suspension failure for the Comtoyou Audi of Frederic Vervisch to finish 11th and 12th respectively.

Defending WTCR champion Gabriele Tarquini finished a miserable weekend for Hyundai with the final point in 15th.

Race result

1Tiago MonteiroKCMGHonda1429m49.833s
2Yvan MullerCyan RacingLynk & Co142.295s
3Yann EhrlacherCyan PerformanceLynk & Co142.647s
4Mikel AzconaPWR RacingCupra142.959s
5Jean-Karl VernayWRTAudi146.816s
6Rob HuffSLR VW MotorsportVolkswagen146.999s
7Nestor GirolamiMunnich MotorsportHonda1410.041s
8Thed BjorkCyan RacingLynk & Co1412.507s
9Ma QinghuaTeam MulsanneAlfa Romeo1422.317s
10Norbert MicheliszBRC Squadra CorseHyundai1422.596s
11Johan KristofferssonSLR VolkswagenVolkswagen1423.570s
12Aurelien PanisComtoyou CupraCupra1424.108s
13Kevin CecconTeam MulsanneAlfa Romeo1424.900s
14Mehdi BennaniSLR VW MotorsportVolkswagen1424.916s
15Gabriele TarquiniBRC Squadra CorseHyundai1425.258s
16Niels LangeveldComtoyou AudiAudi1426.028s
17Tom CoronelComtoyou CupraCupra1426.602s
18Benjamin LeuchterSLR VolkswagenVolkswagen1437.092s
19Andy PriaulxCyan PerformanceLynk & Co141m44.342s
-Frederic VervischComtoyou AudiAudi12Retirement
-Daniel HaglofPWR RacingCupra7Retirement
-Attila TassiKCMGHonda7Retirement
-Augusto FarfusBRC Racing TeamHyundai6Retirement
-Gordon SheddenWRTAudi1Retirement
-Esteban GuerrieriMunnich MotorsportHonda0Retirement
-Nicky CatsburgBRC Racing TeamHyundai0Retirement

Drivers' championship

1Esteban Guerrieri231
2Norbert Michelisz206
3Thed Bjork180
4Nestor Girolami175
5Mikel Azcona168
6Yvan Muller154
7Yann Ehrlacher148
8Jean-Karl Vernay140
9Frederic Vervisch136
10Gabriele Tarquini119
11Augusto Farfus119
12Nicky Catsburg117
13Rob Huff107
14Ma Qinghua102
15Johan Kristoffersson94
16Benjamin Leuchter86
17Aurelien Panis69
18Tiago Monteiro58
19Kevin Ceccon47
20Tom Coronel43
21Andy Priaulx42
22Attila Tassi39
23Daniel Haglof35
24Niels Langeveld30
25Gordon Shedden29
26Mehdi Bennani25

Teams' championship

PosTeamPoints Munnich Motorsport406
2Cyan Racing Lynk & Co334
3BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse325
4BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team236
5PWR Racing203
6Cyan Performance Lynk & Co190
7SLR Volkswagen180
8Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport169
9Comtoyou Team Audi Sport166
10Team Mulsanne149
11SLR VW Motorsport132
12Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing112

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