Gabriele Tarquini: “Hyundai will be my last manufacturer”

Touring car ace Gabriele Tarquini will start his fourth season with Hyundai this year and his 16th World Touring Car season. And the 59-year-old says that his current contract with Hyundai will likely be his last.

“Yeah, I think Hyundai will be my last manufacturer,” said Tarquini.

The 2018 WTCR champion has been part of Hyundai’s TCR programme from the start, developing the i30 N TCR model and most recently the Elantra N TCR model that he will race in this year’s WTCR.

“But I am very good with them, I start the last period of my career with them, starting with a white paper [with the i30 N TCR] then to win the world title two years in a row, also with Norbi,” said Tarquini.

“I am very proud to be part of this team as a professional driver and I think that this manufacturer will be my last one.

“My first race was in 1983. I am not happy to put the number on the table but it’s a really long career. If you consider in karting I started my karting career in 1974 and, if I am not wrong, it’s my 48th season since my first race. My first motorsport licence was in 1974. To be a professional driver close to 60 is an unbelievable achievement and I am very proud of this number.”

The Italian is nonetheless aiming to fight for the WTCR title this year, looking to bounce back after a tough 2020 season.

“The target, as usual, is to win,” said Tarquini.

“My experience helped me during the last few seasons and I can be also a team player, so if I am out of the title fight I can be part of the fight with helping a team-mate. In 2019 I was very happy about the season and about Norbi winning.

“I am here, I am a team player and I have a team spirit. I will be more happy if the fight is with me included but, if not, I will be more than happy to be part of the team play.”