WTCR Q&A: Norbert Michelisz
Crowned the King of WTCR after winning the 2019 title, BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse driver Norbert Michelisz is the ultimate Hungarian hero. This what he’s had to say ahead of his home rounds of the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup.
Your home rounds of the WTCR but with no fans due to COVID-19 restrictions. What’s it going to be like?
“It’s very difficult for me to imagine but I know it will be strange. Even though it will be a real shame for them and for the atmosphere, and for sure it won’t be like it was in previous years, it was the right decision by the organisers. Safety and health are the most important things right now. We have to be happy we can race at the Hungaroring but hopefully next year fans will be able to come and even more people will want to come because they had to skip one year. We want to make it up to them next year.”
What message do you have for the fans?
“Stay home and stay safe, and stay really healthy. In Hungary there is a second wave [of COVID-19 infection] and the health of everyone has to be the priority. Nowadays we have very good platforms to follow the races. I know it’s not the same as visiting the circuit but I would say subscribe to Eurosport Player or watch the races on Sport 1 and enjoy.”
The event moves from April to October. How will this impact on the event?
“Sometimes at the mid or end of October it’s 20 degrees but we can also have five degrees, a lot of rain and fog, but it’s very hard to predict. But we’ve had rain and cold temperatures at the end of April so I don’t expect anything unusual, it will be more or less the same. The big question mark for me is whether it will rain or if we will survive with dry conditions. We don’t have a lot of info about the rain tyres so let’s wait and see.”
How will your Hungaroring experience help you if it does rain?
“I have quite a lot of experience on the Hungaroring, which is always a benefit. But the others also have plenty of experience because it’s nine years we’ve been going there. I don’t expect to have a huge margin because I drove there 20 per cent more than them. Most of the time I went there was with the WTCC or WTCR.”
WTCR Race of Hungary is the second triple-header weekend of the season when the new qualifying and grid formation format will be used. Are you a fan?
“I like it. I prefer three races much more than two and it’s also a good format to have one qualifying session and split the results in this format what we have. For sure it will be very intense with the three races back to back. You need to be a bit clever and a bit tactical. But the approach changes a bit in Q1. Previously the target was to set a lap time good enough to go to Q2. Now the target should be to set a lap time good enough for pole position or on the front row. And there are five points as well.”
You say you need to be “a bit tactical”, why?
“Of course, if you have a big accident you mess a bit your chances for the following races but since we had this last year and the year before I feel prepared and this was more or less the rhythm we’ve always had so it should not be something unusual. And we have the perfect team to fix the car if something goes wrong.”