TCR Europe points leader Mikel Azcona is expecting a ‘crazy’ end to the season at Circuit de Catalunya tomorrow [21st October] after his title celebrations were put on hold by a late slip to fifth in the opening race.
The Spaniard had been running fourth behind M1RA’s Norbert Michelisz – enough to seal the crown by a solitary point – but a late move by Ash Sutton’s VW into the sweeping right-hander at Turn 12 lost him two vital points.
As a result, race winner Attila Tassi, Dusan Borkovic and a charging Jean-Karl Vernay remain in a mathematical contention for the crown, with a maximum score of 25 points available tomorrow.
Given Azcona’s lead remains at 24, however, only a disaster would prevent him from being crowned at this late stage.
“For me, it was the most difficult race of the season, because we are thinking about the championship and I was in the middle of some very good drivers,” explained Azcona to TouringCars.net in Spain.
“I was in front of Michelisz at the start and I think it was the worst moment of my career because I was thinking ‘oh, it’s Michelisz, he’s WTCR, he is a very good driver.’
“I maintained my position but I made a small mistake at one corner, locked my brakes and then in this moment, he overtook me. And after this moment, the problems started.”
Those largely centred on a tough battle with Sutton, who Azcona feels should have been more aware of the potential consequences of any incident between them whilst fighting for position.
“There were some difficult moments with the Golf of Sutton. He was so so aggressive, too aggressive. He touched my rear bumper twice and then again in the braking point, when I was turning he nearly crashed into me.
“I think this race from him was really aggressive, I am battling for the championship, so he needs to think about that.”
Azcona admitted he hasn’t yet worked out a strategy for the final race at 15:55 CEST tomorrow, but is aiming for at least eighth – the lowest he can finish to guarantee the crown irrespective of his rival’s results.
“I don’t know the strategy but I know the worst position I can finish in is eighth. If I am eighth tomorrow, I win the championship. This is my target. Of course I am going to fight and overtake, and get to the podium. But first of all, I need to focus on the championship.
“I think it is going to be a crazy race tomorrow!”