Stian Paulsen says maiden podium “had been coming”

Stian Paulsen believes that his maiden TCR Europe podium he achieved at the Hungaroring last weekend “had been coming”, having missed out earlier in the season

The Norwegian charged from 12th on the grid to finish second in the opening race behind the Target Competition Hyundai of Dusan Borkovic, as wet conditions affected the leading cars.

Paulsen though was unable to repeat this feat starting from the same place in Race 2, surviving contact from Stefano Comini’s Honda to finish 10th.

The Cupra driver remained satisfied with a first career podium in the series, something the Norwegian reckons was long overdue.

“I love the rainy conditions and think they really suit my driving style,” Paulsen told TouringCarTimes.

“I was very disappointed to miss out on a podium in similar conditions at Paul Ricard. I was flying on the first lap and then I got an engine problem.

“That was my first wet race in eight years, so when we had rain on Saturday, I knew I could get a podium here.”

Paulsen kept his nose clean when others around him failed to, most notably the KCMG Hondas of Josh Files and Attila Tassi, both if whom were involved in incidents (with Mikel Azcona’s Cupra and Julien Briché’s Peugeot 308TCR respectively).

Paulsen admitted he had to “push like an animal” to keep the heat in his tyres in order to mount a serious challenge.

“I had to push so hard on the first lap so I didn’t lose the temperature in the tyres. I pushed like an animal and it paid off,” he said.

“I was going inside and outside looking for grip and I think I overtook four cars in one corner.”

Looking towards the next round at Assen, Paulsen is hopeful his Cupra will be competitive, despite possible changes to the compensation weight which may affect his car.

“It will be a new circuit for me so I’m not sure how it will go for the Cupra. I hope it will be good for is because I want to be fighting for more podiums.”