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WTCR - HUNGRIA

Sexta, 27 Abril 2018 18:23 | Actualizado em Quarta, 22 Janeiro 2020 00:21

FIA WTCR AFRIQUIA RACE OF MOROCCO, 7-8 April 2018
WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO Rounds 1-3 of 30

PRE-EVENT PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT

Fröccsterasz, Erzsébet tér, Budapest, 11h00, Thursday 26 April

Present:
Mato Homola, DG Sport Compétiton
Norbert Michelisz, BRC Racing Team
Norbert Nagy, Zengő Motorsport
Pepe Oriola, Team OSCARO by Campos Racing
François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, WTCR OSCARO promoter
Attila Tassi, KCMG
Zsolt Szabó, Zengő Motorsport

Q:
It’s fair to say we’re entering a golden era for touring car racing and after three fantastic races in Marrakech, how satisfied and happy are you?

FR:
We have only done one event, three races so maybe it’s a bit early to judge but I can tell you one thing: on Saturday Sunday, Monday, Tuesday I received 1000 SMS, emails, WhatsApp messages on my phone from people we are working with all around the world, journalists, promoters, manufacturers, teams, drivers, nearly 1000 messages saying the same thing: Wow! What I feel is not relevant. What is important is how WTCR is perceived by the media, fans, broadcasters and the message we got from Marrakech was very clear: it’s super-quality touring car racing.

Q:
There are two wildcards on the grid this weekend. Can you explain more about the programme?

FR:
It is something we agreed with the FIA when we put the WTCR sporting regulations in place last December. We said we wanted super-level full-season entries with a maximum of 26 cars with two additional wildcards. We imagine two different scenarios. Either we have a super-big champion once in the season and we have René Rast at the Nürburgring. He is the DTM champion, a winner of the 24 hours there and probably the fastest at that track so he is probably the biggest challenger we can throw at the all-season drivers. The second possibility is to offer a young local star the possibility to fight and race the best routing car drivers in the world. I remember Pepe won his first race in the WTCC when he was 18 years and six months and Attila is 18, very young and it’s good for young drivers like ‘Attika’ to have once in a season the opportunity to race against Norbi, Gabriele, Pepe, Muller and so on and that’s why we put the wildcard system into place.

Q:
Emotions are running high in Hungary before the race because there is a rivalry between Yvan and Norbi and there have been some rude and harsh comments on Facebook. What do you think about this situation?

FR:
Rivalry on track has never been a problem, it’s part of the sport, it’s the essence of sport. You think MotoGP has a problem with Marques and Rossi rivalry on track? I don’t think so. When the competition is high, the rivalry is very high on track. I don’t think Norbi has a problem with Yvan and Yvan does not have a problem with Norbi. They are fighting very hard on track. Marrakech will not be the first time they have contact and it will not be the last time. We know the fans are passionate about Norbi and we read some harsh comments about Yvan. I am sure if there had been Facebook and Twitter when Prost and Senna had their rivalry we would have read the same comments from Brazilians. I don’t have a big problem. The only answer Hungarian fans can bring is to come and break all the records on Saturday and Sunday in terms of numbers and noise and that is the only answer they can bring to support Norbi if they really like him.

Q:
Pepe Oriola, you were second here in TCR International last year and you have a lot of experience but you are still very young. Would you say you’ve changed your driving style over the years?

PO:
My driving style has changed by the years with the more experience I have and I can use that experience to push more for the podium. Maybe when I was younger, when I did not have this experience it was more difficult and more difficult to handle the pressure. Now I can handle the pressure better and I believe my driving style is improving each year.

Q:
You are representing the Cupra brand in WTCR, a new brand. It must be an honour for a young driver to represent a new brand, a Spanish brand in the top of touring car racing…

PO:
For sure it’s very important to have this opportunity but it’s the same car as last year and we wait for the new León to come. There are some changes, not a brand new car but it’s a big pleasure to represent this brand and I hope I can do some good results.

Q:
With your home 200 kilometres away in Bratislava this is almost a home race for you and it’s more or less the distance you will drive at the Hungaroring this weekend…

MH:
It’s nice to be here and nice to be here in Hungary. It’s my home race, Bratislava is 200 kilometres away and I hope many Slovak fans come to support me in this race and I hope we have some nice races. I am happy to be back at the Hungaroring. It’s a track I like, I’ve had good results in the past at this track and I really believe we can continue some kind of good performances. The Peugeot is a brand new car and we need to work on it in terms of set-up to get used to it and to understand this is important in order to work properly on these kinds of track. Marrakech was difficult to judge because it’s a street circuit but I hope we can be faster here than we were in Morocco for sure.

Q:
You mentioned you have a new car but you also have Eric Nève in your team who brings a lot of experience…

MH:
For sure Eric Nève is a very experienced man in the paddock let’s say. Me and my team are very happy to have this support and a really experienced guy in the team.  As we could see in Morocco he put the level of professionalism even higher. With good drivers and a good team, I am sure we can manage to achieve good results and I believe Eric can help us achieve these results.

Q:
Now to Norbi Michelisz, it’s a very exciting time for you with your home race in WTCR and the arrival of your second child due soon. How are you feeling?

NM:
They are very exciting days because before the press conference started I was thinking do I have to switch off my phone or I will get the phone call from my wife during the press conference. But after I decided to switch off because I am a good boy. After last year I didn’t think we could go higher because we started with my young team and we fought for the world championship title. Now it’s a bit more exciting and very good to compete in this new championship because it gives me extra power. I am very happy and feel good in myself.

Q:
You switched from driving a Honda to a Hyundai for this season. Why was that?

NM:
Well it was a good decision because as we have seen from Morocco it was one of the fastest cars and there are three world champions driving Hyundais. It was interesting because everybody knew the track in Morocco so maybe it was a bit more of an advantage.

Q:
Morocco was not the best result for you but a good result for your BRC Racing Team?

NM:
It’s very good news that my team is fighting for a good result and we forget this little bit tricky opening of the season. Not just for me but for them also it’s important to have a good result this weekend.

Q:
To Zsolt Szabó, a full season in the WTCR for you but how important is this weekend for you?

ZS:
This is the most important weekend in the season for me. I was preparing a lot with simulator and with my driving coach. Last year in the ETCC I started from the pole position and I hope this year we can be the fastest Cupra driver. This is the first time for me to race in a brand new car, which is excellent and of course it feels more powerful than last year’s SEAT. And I expect the fans to help me a lot this weekend.

Q:
Partnering Zsolt in a second Zengő Motorsport Cupra. How did your season start in Morocco and what result can you achieve in your home event?

NN:
During the Morocco weekend we always had in front of us that we had to save the car for the Hungaroring. I would like to continue where I finished in the ETCC in Hungaroring. I feel this car is a little bit faster and if it will be more faster than in Marrakech then we could be in a higher position.

Q:
One of two wildcards competing this weekend, how have your preparations gone?

AT:
I didn’t meet the team before but we will compete together in TCR Europe and they have won in endurance racing. In the past I didn’t have a chance to test before the season but now I have had the chance to test in Monza and Vallelunga, which is good news before the season so I hope this can help me.

Questions from the floor:

Q:
From Peter Vamosi (Racingline.hu, Hungary) to François Ribeiro: There have been rumours linking Stefano Comini to wildcard entry in Zandvoort in a Top Run Subaru. What can you tell us about this?

FR:
Stefano definitely deserved to be a full-season driver this year. I don't know him very well. I understood he had a bit of behaviour and attitude issues in the paddock over the last two years but behind the steering wheel he is very fast. The team you mentioned did not contact me and Stefano is not Dutch so he does not apply to the category to get a wildcard for Zandvoort. We always said we would give wildcards to local drivers.

Q:
From Szilvia Magyar (Motorzaj,hu) to François Ribeiro: What about drivers who don’t have a home race, can there be a solution for them?

FR:
For me we would do a WTCR event 32 times a year and then there would be more opportunities for drivers from other countries. But the reality is we have 10 events and 30 races, which is already a lot. I am sorry we can’t take everybody but this is a world cup and the level needs to be restrictive to have some value. I don’t have a precise answer for you but what we want is the best touring car drivers in the world as full-season entries and there is no restriction on who they are. The only restriction is for the wildcards. But next year if a Brazilian or Russian or whatever wants to be on the grid there is still the possibility for them as an all-season racer.

Q:
From Peter Vamosi (Racingline.hu, Hungary) to Pepe Oriola. What do you think of the electric Cupra and have you tried it yet?

PO:
Actually I tried the new car, we did some kilometres but we didn’t try on a proper track. The concept is really great but it depends how they do it. Formula E is really good but they do it in street races and I don’t know how it would be for a touring car on a proper track like Barcelona with no sound. But I am sure they will find a solution because we have to do it, we have to promote electric cars in the world and it will be good to discover this car, it will be good for everybody and show what we are doing to try to help the earth.

Q:
From Peter Vamosi (Racingline.hu, Hungary) to François Ribeiro: What do you think about electric racing in general and the future?

FR:
Eurosport Discovery is very involved e-racing because we are the biggest shareholder in Formula E. But for touring car this is the long-term future no doubt but my attention is now on WTCR, which is great with the best action you can bring to the fans. We will see what the future will be for electric racing but I don’t think people realise the level of constraints you have to bring onto a circuit to WTCR into e-racing. In terms of safety, infrastructure, the capacity you need to charge the batteries for 24 cars at the same time, in terms of the equipment you need to put for marshals is unbelievably high and I don’t think today touring car market is ready for this but in the future no doubt.


FIA WTCR Media Centre

FIA WTCR Media Centre

FIA WTCR Media Centre

FIA WTCR Media Centre

FIA WTCR Media Centre

FIA WTCR Media Centre


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