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Nicky Catsburg admits being surprised at Volvo pace

Polestar Cyan Racing’s Nicky Catsburg admitted that he was surprised with the pace of Volvo in Sunday’s World Touring Car Championship races in Hungary, with the Swedish cars being on the same weight as the Hondas.

Catsburg took fifth in the Opening Race, behind team-mate Néstor Girolami, as Honda’s Tiago Monteiro went on to win the reversed-grid race.

In the Main Race Catsburg followed Mehdi Bennani home to take his first podium finish of the season, despite having earlier been caught up in an incident with Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff which saw Catsburg make contact with Girolami, ending the Argentine’s race.

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Volvo had to carry the same 80 kg of compensation weight as Honda in Hungary, and the Swedish cars went on to perform better in qualifying, making it through to Q3.

In contrast, none of the Hondas got through to the final part of qualifying, but Monteiro went on to win the Opening Race and extend his championship lead. The pace of the Volvo continued to be stronger in the Main Race, and Catsburg comfortably beat the Japanese cars to the podium.

“It was definitely hard with the weight,” said Catsburg. “You definitely feel the effect of the 80 kg. But I must say I’m a bit surprised; our performance was really strong, also compared to the Honda who also had the 80 kg.

“In the Main Race Mehdi was too fast, he was in front and he didn’t make any big mistakes so I couldn’t overtake, but I tried to keep the pressure on. I pushed a lot the whole race and unfortunately he didn’t do a mistake.”

After the race, Huff apologised to Catsburg and Girolami for the incident which saw the Brit hit with a drive-through penalty and Girolami end the race at the side of the circuit.

“I have to say thanks to Rob that he admitted he touched me, that is very gentleman-like,” added the Dutchman. “Unfortunately, I hit my team-mate Néstor which is really unfortunate and I feel bad about that, as he deserves to have a good result as well.

“Obviously I’m very happy with P2. I think we did a very good job for the championship as well. We just need to beat Tiago for once. When I saw him winning the Opening Race I was [thinking], oh no, here he goes again, so hopefully next race we’ll beat him.”

Catsburg’s consistent points scoring sees him move up to second overall in the drivers’ championship standings on 85 points, 38 adrift of leader Monteiro.

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