Norbert Michelisz was happy to have qualified in third for the opening FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race on the streets of Vila Real, with the Hyundai driver saying that his improved pace was expected this weekend.
After all of the Hyundai i30 N TCR drivers struggled last time out in Zandvoort, the cars have been given a small boost through the reduction of their ride heights by 10 mm as part of the Balance of Performance [BoP] measures and by carrying less WTCR compensation weight.
That allowed the i30s to set the pace in both of Saturday’s free practice sessions, before Michelisz emerged as the fastest Hyundai in qualifying for race one in his BRC Racing prepared car.
“We expected be more competitive than we were the last time,” said Michelisz. “In the end I am quite happy with my performance. The laps were clean, I don’t really feel I could have gone faster.
“Finishing P3 gives us the possibility to go for a podium and this is what I want.”
The Hungarian believes that with the joker lap coming in to play in all three races this weekend he will have to rely on a call from his team in the pits as to when is the best time to take the alternative route through the last corner – something which is mandatory one per race for all drivers.
“You have to be clever with the ‘joker’ lap but with the gap between the cars so close the timing is crucial so overseeing the whole situation from the pit wall… also you have a big job as a driver. Approaching the last sector, it’s only you who can see if the distance has changed or not.
“Anyway, it’s not going to be easy but with the experience we have from last year we should be prepared for the ‘joker’ lap.”