Fernando Monje secured the FIA European Touring Car Cup title at Imola. The 19 year-old won both races and is currently preparing for WTCC at Curitiba where the Spaniard will make his debut with the 1.6 turbo engine from SEAT Sport. TouringCarTimes met up with Monje to discuss the future and the road that led him to the European title.
“I am so happy that my name is added to the ETCC hall of fame which features names such as Fabrizio Giovanardi and James Thompson, really big names in motorsport. Imola was a perfect weekend, we scored maximum points and I would like to thank the team for giving me a fantastic car. The season has had ups and downs but we took the title and that is all that matters.”
Next up for Fernando Monje is the World Touring Car Championship and a tougher challenge.
“We will have to fight hard because in the WTCC there are fantastic drivers and I don’t know the tracks. I will take part in the remainder of the season with the 1.6 Seat Sport engine, I will try to learn as much as I can to be ready for 2013.”
After Curitiba, Monje is going to have experience of three different SEAT engines, including the diesel and the two 1.6 petrol engines from SUNRED and SEAT Sport.
“The TDi engine is heavier in the front, so generally it stresses the front tyres more. Switching from the TDi to the 1.6 turbo was not that difficult, because the car is pretty much the same. I expect the new [Seat Sport] engine to be more gentle with the tyres and generally quicker, and there will be much more noise in the car!”
While having WTCC as his main focus, Monje considers other championships as well for the future.
“Of course I am fully focused on the WTCC, I love the cars and the racing. In general, all I want is sitting in a car, driving as quickly as possible, and of course winning races and titles as the main goal, just like everyone. There are other championships in other countries, like the DTM or the 24 hours of Le Mans, but at the moment I am looking forward to the WTCC and I want to perform well there.”
Monje will race in Curitiba in four weeks, making his second appearance in the WTCC after competing in Valencia earlier this year.