Tiago Monteiro took victory in the Suncity Group Macau Guia Race yesterday – delivering his first ever win around the challenging Guia street circuit. The Portuguese driver had started the main event from third on the grid, but made a brilliant getaway to surge into the lead past front row starters Stefano Comini and Jean Karl Vernay.
He was able to build up enough of a gap to hold on to his advantage through Lisboa, and seemed to be in full control until a red flag was brought out on lap three after Sunny Wong had crashed at Police and his car blocked the track.
After a lengthy delay to clear the track, the race was eventually restarted behind a safety car for what would be a two-lap shoot-out. Monteiro got away cleanly again though, and instead the man coming under the most pressure was second placed Comini. Comini’s Leopard Racing teammate Vernay had got a good slipstream away from the line and was able to drag past the Swiss driver on the run down to Lisboa.
Vernay pushed on hard to try to close down to Monteiro but ran out of time to try to challenge him, with the pair separated by 0.926 seconds at the chequered flag.
Monteiro – who had never won before at Macau in either the F3 or Guia races – was delighted with his success. “It is fantastic, really fantastic,” said the WestCoast Racing driver. “I have been here many times in F3 and WTCC – and I was close to winning a few times. Two years ago there were just three corners missing and my power steering broke. I lost everything then – so I needed revenge here in Macau. I knew we could do it and when this opportunity came up I accepted it right away.”
Behind Vernay, Comini conceded another position to Pepe Oriola on the last lap and came home in fourth place. That was enough for him to clinch his second TCR Series title.
Drivers apologize for poor show
Numerous incidents during the two TCR races yesterday meant only four full laps of green flag took place in just over two-and-a-half hours on the track. Several drivers stepped up to apologize to spectators for the poor show. “I’m sorry for the fans,” said Jean-Karl Vernay, as cited by Touring Car Times. “I really must apologize for the show today. We were not able to show what a TCR race was, we just had safety cars and red flags, and I’m sorry for that.” Other drivers, including Spain’s Pepe Oriola, echoed Vernay’s sentiments.