Photo: TCR Europe

Michelisz “pushing from the first lap” to resist Azcona for TCR World Tour win

Norbert Michelisz says he had to push from start to finish to win the first TCR World Tour race at Algarve due to the pace of his BRC Racing team-mate Mikel Azcona.

The pair locked out the front row in qualifying, with just 0.035 seconds splitting them on pace, and then in Race 1 finished 0.705s apart after twelve laps of racing.

“The race wasn’t easy,” said Michelisz to TouringCarTimes.

“I managed to have a decent start, so being in front with these [high] temperature is always the best place to be. But I needed to push from the first lap because I saw Mikel being close, he was under pressure from Rob so there was no time to relax. Tyre decay was there, it was a big stress because of the heat and because of the circuit, but luckily we managed to survive.”

His gap of 0.7s to Azcona remained pretty stable throughout the race, despite locking up the front-left tyre a few times in the later laps of the race. TouringCarTimes asked Michelisz if he was feeling under pressure from Azcona at that points, despite his team-mate not making gains on him and the fact that he would not be close enough to attempt an overtake unless he halved the gap between them.

“Yeah, a bit to be honest, because he’s very fast,” Michelisz replied. “Mikel is for me one of the fastest drivers, so he’s always pushing. But it’s something I really enjoy. So effectively I was pushing from the first lap to the end, and he think he was pushing as well.”

Michelisz starts tenth on the reversed grid for Race 2, and alongside his team-mate once again. What does he expect is possible from Sunday’s race?

“It’s impossible to tell. First we need to do a good start, and then stay out of trouble in the first couple of corners, and then we will see.”

Race 2 is scheduled to start at 11:30 local time on Sunday.