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Zoltan Zengő looking to get back to the front with Aurélien Panis

Zengő Motorsport boss Zoltán Zengő wants to take his outfit back to the front of the World Touring Car Championship grid with his latest signing, Frenchman Aurélien Panis.

For the first time in the Hungarian team’s history they have signed a driver of a different nationality, with the son of former Formula One driver Olivier Panis set to take the wheel.

Announced earlier this month, Panis will likely line-up alongside either Ferenc Ficza or Dániel Nagy, who both raced for the team in a two-car campaign in 2016.

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Zengő admits that one of the reasons for signing Panis was to take the team back to the front of the field, and gain the latest updates from Honda.

“We wanted to get back under the spotlight, where we once were with Norbert Michelisz,” said Zengő to Hungarian TV channel M4Sport. “It is important that this year we will have all the latest updates from the factory.

“It was important to have driver who makes Honda interested in this support. When François Ribeiro called me and said he had an idea about our future line-up, I told him he should first ask Honda if we can have the latest specification of the Civic, otherwise it would not make much sense.

“Honda liked the idea and it became possible to create a new situation which enables us to be successful again.”

Zengő hopes that he can use his team’s track record of bringing on new talent to form a successful working partnership with Panis in 2017.

“Aurélien is a drop of fresh blood for WTCC,” he continued. “I feel the World Championship is a bit down these years and Eurosport Events are trying to shake things up with big names and well-known drivers.

“The name Panis is capable of drawing attention to the series, and can put the spotlight on Zengő Motorsport too.

“We brought Norbert Michelisz into WTCC, won races, became independent champions twice, finished fourth in 2014 as the best of Hondas in front of the factory cars and helped Norbert to reach a works contract.

“I think Olivier sees that we have the necessary knowledge and humbleness to help the career of his son. We will give our all to get back to the title fight and I hope we can once again battle with the factory cars in 2017.”

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