Tiago Monteiro’s hopes of claiming the 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship title have all but evaporated after Honda confirmed the Portuguese driver will miss the upcoming Guia Race of Macau round.
The 41-year-old continues a lengthy recovery after suffering concussion-like symptoms in the wake of a heavy testing accident at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over two months ago. His injuries, which have included back and neck pain, dizziness and blood clots, have kept him sidelined from the rounds in China and Japan.
His absence from those two meetings has seen Monteiro slip from the lead of the Drivers’ Championship to fourth overall, 28.5 points behind Polestar Cyan Racing’s Thed Björk. Should the Swedish driver score 31.5 points or more during the course of the Macau weekend, Monteiro’s championship challenge will end.
“I’m extremely disappointed to have to miss the chance to continue my fight for the WTCC crown,” said Monteiro.
“Macau is one of the most challenging circuits in the world and one I love racing on. I feel ready to return and I’ve been able to increase my training so it’s now at virtually the same level as before the accident.
“Unfortunately, despite this, the risk of a second impact on my body is still too great and I need to wait a little while longer before I’m fully healed. I cannot even begin to explain how it makes me feel to see my title ambitions slipping away. All I can do is continue to train hard and aim to return in Qatar to help Honda’s title ambitions.”
Monteiro’s place will again be taken by Esteban Guerrieri, who was confirmed as an eleventh-hour stand-in at the previous round in Japan. Guerrieri was slated to run in his usual Campos Racing seat this weekend, however the Spanish squad has again elected to allow the Argentine to remain as stand-in at Honda. The independent outfit is therefore unlikely to be able to secure a replacement for Guerrieri before the FIA closes its entry list for the Guia Race of Macau.
Image via FIA WTCC Media