Mat’o Homola admits that he didn’t think he could take pole position for the TCR Europe series at the Hungaroring, citing a lack of testing compared to his Target Competition team-mates as leaving him uncertain of his pace heading into the weekend.
Although Homola carried out pre-season testing at the Hungarian circuit, it was the only circuit he visited in the run-up to the new season, whilst his team-mates visited several other circuits.
That left the Slovak driver more uncertain of his pace and preparation heading into the first European event of the year.
In the end Homola secured pole position by a mere 0.019 seconds from Andreas Bäckman, giving him the ideal start to the new season.
“It’s really good, but it’s just qualifying,” said Homola to TouringCars.Net. “Tomorrow’s races are more important, so we just need to focus on that.
“It’s perfect for me, because I did not do as much testing as the others with the new car, and I was kind of lost before FP1 and also after FP2 because there was not much track time during the two practices.
“I knew that the car is good; that’s why we chose this car and this team, and I want to win the championship. But we didn’t have much testing and I didn’t know where I was.
“In Q1 I made a lot of mistakes and I was not happy with my driving, but I didn’t want to change anything on the car. I just wanted to put everything into one lap.
“I knew that I can be fast, but honestly, I didn’t predict that we would be in P1, but it’s nice to be there.”
Homola headed a Hyundai 1-2-3-4 in qualifying and the 24-year-old admits that the biggest challenge will come from his fellow i30 N racers.
“I think that all of these drivers chose the Hyundai because it is the best, or it was last year, so we need to find something special at every track. Half of the Hyundais are in our team, so it’s not easy!
“The competition in TCR Europe is high, but the competition between the Hyundais is even higher when you compare with the other brands.”
Although he is starting race one from the front, Homola’s focus is on consistency for the season ahead, as he points to 2018 champion Mikel Azcona’s habit of picking up points at every event on his way to the title.
“I know how this series works – you need to take as many points as possible, but when you are on pole you want to win and I want to win, that’s for sure.
“The most important thing is to take points, because every point counts at the end of the season.
“We saw who won last year and he only had one win, he was really consistent, and that’s the key for this season to be successful at the end of the year.”