Tiago Monteiro says he will be looking to 'stay out of trouble' and 'score points in each race' as he prepares to kick-start his third year in the World Touring Car Championship this weekend.
The former-F1 racer returns to the SEAT Sport line-up again for 2009 and will look to build on his two wins last season, which came at Puebla and Estoril.
Monteiro and the remainder of the unchanged SEAT line-up have carried out extensive testing over the winter as the team comes to grips with restrictions placed on the diesel-powered Leon for the new season and the Portuguese racer said he was pleased with his the off-season had panned out.
"Testing went well and our progression was very encouraging but the new rules penalised us a lot,” he said. “It is only in Brazil that we will know where we are with our rivals. But I am confident and determined to fight the other teams.
“SEAT Sport is a very professional team and the fact that we kept the same drivers and engineers will ease the communication, which will be instantly perfect and that's an important aspect to start the season on the right foot. We are here to defend our titles!"
Going into the season-opener in Brazil this weekend, Monteiro admitted he was taking a similar approach to that of defending champion and fellow SEAT ace Yvan Muller; to be consistent and bring home points as often as possible to launch a bid on the title.
"It is mandatory to be fast in this championship, but consistency is also a very important factor,” he said. “Suffice to say that the reigning champion, my team-mate Yvan Muller won only one more race than I did. There have been a lot of unexpected problems during races, against which I could not do anything, but it is crucial to stay away from any confusion and to manage the race with care in order to keep the car in good shape so that we can get to the chequered flag.
“Sometimes it can be enough to score some points and be in a good position for the second race. This year, my aim will be this: to score points at each race. I want to open my scorecard in Curitiba, and make a good start in the championship."