FIA WTCR RACE OF SLOVAKIA
Slovakia Ring, 13-15 July 2018
WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, Rounds 16-18 of 30
Double Tree By Hilton Hotel, Trnavská cesta, Bratislava, 11h30, Thursday 12 July
WTCR OSCARO representatives in attendance:
Mato Homola, DG Sport Compétition
Norbert Michelisz, BRC Racing Team
François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, WTCR OSCARO promoter
Turning to François Ribeiro, tell us about how this race came together?
I remember the last time I came here, it was mid-May for EWC, for
FIM and a journalist asked me when will you be back for WTCR. Quicker
than expected obviously! But first I want to thank Slovakia Ring, ETRA,
because it is true we have been in a difficult situation. I remember
Pavel (Culik, Slovakia Ring CEO) came to Hungaroring for WTCR at the end
of April and asked me, give me a date for 2019 and we were starting
discuss something for 2019. But three weeks after I had a phone call
from the Argentinean government and they told me they are in a terrible
financial situation and I had three days, no more, three days to find an
alternative solution. I was in Zandvoort for WTCR and I said to Pavel
if you want a date for WTCR you find me tomorrow morning in the paddock
in Zandvoort. And they came and two weeks after everything was done. We
met ETRA in Italy, Misano. Because we know each other and there is trust
in our relationship everything was done pretty smoothly.
And what about 2019 or is it just this weekend only?
First, let’s make this weekend as good as possible and if it’s
good… I said to Pavel I was more planning for 2019 than 2018. But if the
event this weekend is good and my hope is this weekend is probably the
biggest motorsport weekend Slovakia Ring has ever organised with the
combination of both. If it’s good it will be easier to find a solution
And it’s the perfect timing for a race after the win of Mato Homola in Vila Real?
When he won in Portugal I remember I went to him after the race I
said ‘thank you for the promotion for Slovakia!’ He was on fire. Believe
me, Slovakia Ring is a difficult track but Vila Real, probably along
with Macau, is the most difficult track of the season. To win there you
cannot do it by coincidence. It’s fast, it’s challenging, it’s a street
race, it was very, very hot. And sorry Norbi but he was probably the
most clever driver with the use of the ‘joker’ lap. That is something
very unique for WTCR in Vila Real. He did so well and to win the event
before his home event I hope it was everywhere in the news in Slovakia
because he deserved it and I hope it will serve the promotion of what we
are doing this weekend for sure.
Let’s hear from Mato Homola, just how good does it feel to be
racing in your home country having won your first race in WTCR?
The Portugal win has of course very helpful for the promotion for
Slovakia Ring but it has really helped me psychologically because the
beginning of the season was not like I wanted to have but finally I got
some points and my first win. It was a good start with some points and
I’m looking for a good Slovakia Ring. I have some kind of advantage
compared to the other drivers. But all the drivers are world-class so
they will only need a couple of laps to be on the pace so I don’t think
they will have any problem with that. There is some advantage in the
support of the fans and media and so on. It’s good to be here and I am
looking forward to a nice and sunny weekend.
Turning to Norbert Michelisz and for what is almost a home race for you, a lot of Hungarians will come?
It’s a bit like a second home race to be honest and it’s nice to
be back. I remember we were racing here in 2012 for the first time and
from the first moment this was a place where Hungarians love to come to
and I expect the same this year. I really help also Mato will have a lot
of support because I also know how difficult it is for a young, really
good drive like him to perform when the expectations are high. Of course
I will try to do my best but I will also have my fingers crossed for
How would you summarise your season so far?
Overall I think it was positive. If you look at how close the
championship is, it’s something really exciting as a driver. Of course
there are some good moments, some bad moments but in the end the
important thing is to have all the possibilities for the second half of
the season to fight for the first position overall. As long as I have
this feeling of having the chance to become champion at the end of the
season I think I can summarise it as a positive first half.
Questions from the floor:
Q (Miro Koštial, Luxury Magazine On):
Mr Ribeiro, you were speaking about this race for next year but I want your opinion for the next five years?
It’s the first year only for WTCR and I think we have immediately
brought that championship way above anyone’s expectation if you consider
we started nearly from scratch in mid-November last year. Now two
thirds of my head is building to the future, not only for 2019, I’m
thinking five or 10 years from now. We are in the middle of discussions
with different parties to structure something as strong as possible and
for as long as possible. The championship needs to meet car manufacturer
demands, team demands, driver demands and, most importantly, fan
demands. It has raised my appetite to do something long term for WTCR.
There are countries where touring car is more popular than others. If we
were going to a neighbouring country, for instance Austria, I don’t
know if we would be popular. Here in Slovakia I think we can be. We have
all the ingredients to do something. We have a good circuit, we have a
good promoter, we have a local hero, we have active media, we have a
good fan base. If we build something strong in the future for WTCR and
Slovakia and Slovakia Ring wants to be part of it I see no reason why we
should not be able to find good solutions.
More on OSCARO: wtcr.oscaro.com