BRC Racing Team’s Norbert Michelisz admitted a sense of relief after claiming his first victory of the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) at the Slovakia Ring.
The Hungarian made a strong start in the Hyundai i30 N, seeing off the threat from fellow front row starter Aurelien Comte’s Peugeot 308 before extending his advantage and was never headed.
It marks the fans’ favourite’s first visit to the top step of the podium in WTCR, and moves into third overall in the title race, 26 points adrift of team mate Gabriele Tarquini.
“I’ve been waiting for this for some races now,” said Michelisz to TouringCars.net
“The weekend didn’t start the way we wanted. The feeling with the car was quite good, but not having the proper starting position for the first race made me really disappointed. But we managed to turn it around with the second qualifying and the third race today.
“I’m really happy and there’s a big relief from my side. Having won the first race, there is some pressure now off my shoulders and I really hope this is the start of a turnaround for me in terms of the championship fight.
“There have been a lot of ups and downs throughout the season, but going into the summer break with a boost I have from the atmosphere from this race makes me happy.”
He also admitted it was crucial to stop Comte from jumping him at the start, especially given the long run down to Turn 1.
“I was focused on the start because this is a circuit where you have long acceleration to the first corner, so if you don’t have your start right it can cost you a lot of places,” he added.
“Starting from first you always try to do your best, and on a circuit like this it’s even more so.
“My start was good and I was able to make the cut on Aurélien and then I realised after getting out of Turn 1 now everything was in my hands.
“I was pushing like crazy throughout the race because Aurélien has a really good pace. I knew I had to make a gap and then he was driving really well throughout the race because he didn’t fall back, he managed to keep the same distance, so it wasn’t easy.”
The championship reconvenes at Ningbo in China over the last weekend of September for the first of four flyaway events to round out the season.