Tiago Monteiro gave the Honda Civic Type R TCR victory in the opening race of the 2021 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup season at the Nürburgring Nordschleife as both Münnich Motorsport teams got their campaigns off to a flying start.
The Portuguese ace completed a perfect drive, pouncing near the end of the final lap of the 25.378-kilometre circuit to snatch the victory.
Having run fifth on the first two laps, Tiago took advantage of other cars tripping over one another at the first corner at the start of lap three to slip into second place. After then catching up to the race leader on the Nordschleife, he made his move for the position on the long Döttinger Hohe straight, heading the chasing pack from there over the line.
As well as being Tiago’s first victory since an emotional win in front of his home fans in Vila Real in July 2019, it was also the first success for the ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport squad in the WTCR.
That result, coupled with an eighth-place finish in Race Two, meant Tiago ended the weekend as one of two Honda Racing drivers in a share of second place in the Drivers’ standings.
His team-mate Attila Tassi also kept his Civic Type R TCR out of trouble, netting 12th place in Race One before charging through the pack in the second race to finish fourth.
The 21-year-old started that race 13th but avoided a melee at the first corner – where Tiago was squeezed out wide – to run in an early sixth place, and then made two overtakes in as many laps on the Döttinger Hohe to complete his recovery from a lower than hoped for grid slot.
There was also a podium for the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport outfit to celebrate, as Nestor Girolami claimed third in Race Two.
Argentinian Nestor started from pole position, but a slow launch meant he had to slot into third at the first corner. He stayed with the two leaders on the opening lap before deciding to preserve his tyres for the remainder of the three-lap race and ultimately settled for third.
It nevertheless capped a fine round for ‘Bebu’, whose ninth-place finish in Race One meant he and Tiago – who will also both contest the Nürburgring 24 Hours in a Civic Type R TCR – ended the weekend tied on 33 points, just six shy of the WTCR series leader.
Nestor’s team-mate Esteban Guerrieri felt he might have had the pace to challenge for victory in Race Two, but his hopes were dashed when he was unable to get away from the grid on the formation lap.
The double Nürburgring WTCR race winner did however take the start from the pitlane and charged through the pack not once but twice – having also been forced to serve a drivethrough penalty – to finish 12th.
Esteban did at least experience better fortune in Race One as he claimed fourth, finishing less than a second behind race winner Tiago.
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport hold an early second in the Teams’ championship, with ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport six points further behind in third.