Tiago Monteiro blames “miscommunication” for missed podium

Tiago Monteiro blamed a “miscommunication” for the final lap error that prevented him from a securing a second podium finish of the World Touring Car Cup weekend at Suzuka.

Having secured a solid third place in the opening race on Saturday, the KCMG driver looked set to repeat the feat in race three after another strong drive towards the sharp end of the grid at the wheel of his Honda Civic Type R TCR.

The former F1 racer had briefly jumped polesitter Johan Kristoffersson at the start before dropping back behind the Swede, and held second place until the closing stages when he allowed fellow Honda driver Esteban Guerrieri through to aid his championship bid.

When the safety car was the deployed going into the final lap, Monteiro looked set to secure third place but inexplicably headed for the pits rather than for the chequered flag.

By the time he realised his error and returned to the circuit to cross the line, Kevin Ceccon had moved ahead into third place – leaving Monteiro off the podium in fourth spot.

“I’d say it was a miscommunication,” he said. “I thought it was the last lap and of course, you have to finish the lap. I was talking on the radio, didn’t pay attention and started coming into the pits.

“I came out right away as Kevin passed me, but it’s a bit of strange one because it’s still safety car. But the stewards decided this, and with the decisions made this weekend, I’m really confused. It’s very tough to take.”

Monteiro had earlier hit out at the decision to penalise him – and a number of other drivers – in qualifying for driving too slowly on an outlap in tricky wet conditions.