Tiago Monteiro to make long-awaited race return at Suzuka

Tiago Monteiro has been cleared to make his long-awaited return to competition in the penultimate rounds of the World Touring Car Cup at Suzuka later this month.

The Portuguese racer has been out of action for more than twelve months following a high-speed accident during testing in Barcelona in September 2017; an incident that robbed him of the chance to fight for the WTCC title last year and which has led to an extended period or recovery.

The 42-year-old will be at the wheel of the Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR that he had been scheduled to race all season, and which has been driven in his absence by both Benjamin Lessennes and Ma Qing Hua.

The outing at Suzuka, scene of Monteiro’s Honda debut during the 2012 WTCC season, will be his only outing in the series this year with the decision having been taken not to contest the final round of the year in Macau on the advice of his doctors.

“I cannot even begin to tell you how good it feels to be back,” Monteiro said. “There were times when the situation looked pretty bleak, but I never lost hope that this day would come and that has kept me determined to push harder than ever to get back to where I want to be.

“Coming to race weekends all year and watching other people do what I should be doing has been tearing me up inside, so I think Suzuka is going to be quite emotional. The fact that I’ll be returning at Honda’s home circuit – the same place I made my first WTCC start with them in 2012 – is also very special and a great way to repay the faith and support they’ve shown me throughout my recovery period.

“I’m not setting any targets; I just want to have fun, get comfortable and play myself in at my own pace before I come back full-time in 2019, and that – along with the advice of the doctors – is why I won’t do Macau. I am so grateful to the professionals that have helped me in my recovery, my family, friends and supporters; you’ve all been amazing throughout this tough time.”