Tiago Monteiro endured a tough end to his second season in the World Touring Car Championship at Macau after failing to score in either race in the Chinese enclave.
The former F1 racer qualified in twelfth place on the grid for the first race of the weekend but was hampered by fuel injection problems on his SEAT Leon TDi that cut the top speed and acceleration of his car. Issues with the gearbox also meant he had to settle for eleventh place at the finish.
With only limited time before race two, the SEAT team worked hard to fix the issues but with his engine showing signs of failing, he was forced to retire from the final round of the year.
"Starting one the warm-up lap, I knew my car was having problems," he said. "We first thought it was a fuel injection problem because we were slower. Then the gearbox started to show signs of fatigue and shifting gears became difficult. The team threw themselves headlong into changing the injector and the gearbox in the time we had between the two races but we only had ten minutes!
"Our problems only got worse after the start of the second race. It became clear that the motor was giving up the ghost. It was also clear that this was not the way I wanted to finish the championship, but these are the problems that occur in mechanical sports."
Despite the disappointment of the final weekend of the year however, Monteiro said he was pleased with the way the season as a whole had gone, with victories at Puebla and Estoril helping SEAT to lift the manufacturers' title.
"Experience is fundamental in the World Touring Car Championship," he said. "Some drivers have almost ten years' experience in this type of discipline and it makes a difference. As for me, I am certain that my second year in the series was very profitable.
"I learned an awful lot from the contact with SEAT Sport and on the track, and my two wins are proof of my development and my quickness. The team did a fabulous job meeting its objectives and celebrating two world titles with Yvan Muller's victory. SEAT Sport has become an example of a winning team, and being part of it is a privilege. I also won't forget my win at Estoril, earned with the help of thousands of people.
"The Macau circuit is also fantastic, and despite the disappointment of not getting the result I was hoping for, the Guia circuit is one of my favourites."