Photo: TCR Europe

Michelisz: Extracting Hyundai’s potential more important than TCR World Tour lead

Norbert Michelisz reclaimed the TCR World Tour lead by finishing second in Race 2 at Spa-Francorchamps, but said being back on top was not the important part of his weekend.

The BRC Racing driver came into the event as leader, but lost it in Race 1 to Cyan Racing’s winner Yann Ehrlacher while he started and finished eighth. For the reversed-grid Race 2 he started third, and claimed his second podium of the season in his Hyundai Elantra N TCR.

“I mean, it’s always a nice feeling [to lead], but it’s even nicer to have the same feeling as Portimao that again with the car and possibilities we had, I think we managed to extract the maximum,” Michelisz said to TouringCarTimes.

“So in the end, like I said [at Portimao], it doesn’t really matter. After the second race weekend, if you are in first or if you are third, the important thing is not to do mistakes and to maximise the chances.”

He admitted that he was off the pace at Spa, particularly in the first sector which features the long Kemmel Straight and favours cars with higher top speeds.

“It’s never easy, because these cars you overheat the fronts very easily. Especially on a demanding circuit with additional ballast. So it’s not the perfect combination,” he said.

“This is the third year of the car, I think every year we manage to improve to be more efficient with finding the right window, so that we can extract maximum performance. This weekend was very tricky because already in free practice we realised on new tyres that we are not very competitive. We were struggling to be inside the top ten, and this is why we needed to maximise everything we had for qualifying.

“So it was about finding a tow, and I think I did clean laps in qualifying, I was maximising the pace and fortunately we managed to finish inside the top ten, which was the crucial part of the weekend. And then okay the job is not done because you have two races ahead, but at least you are in a good position to score points.

“Also in Portimao with the same ballast we were not competitive on the straights. We are competitive in the corners, but even if you check the top speed data in all the races in Portimao, we were not competitive. But we like to fight. Here in the second sector, if you do a good job with the car set-up, I think you can minimise the damage you got from the straight-line disadvantage and the weight in sectors one and three. I did my best. I was flatout, I didn’t do any mistakes, and I’m very happy with the points.”