Norbert Michelisz praised the driving of Team Mulsanne drivers Ma Qing Hua and Kevin Ceccon after he shared the podium with them in the final FIA World Touring Car Cup race at the Slovakiaring.
Michelisz started the race from second on the grid, but immediately lost out to Ma’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta at the start, who once again got a strong launch away from the grid.
Michelisz initially slotted into third behind BRC Racing team-mate Nicky Catsburg, which became second when the Dutchman’s Hyundai i30 N developed issues as the race progressed.
That left Michelisz in second and surrounded by Alfa Romeos. The Hungarian had to switch from challenging for the lead, to defending against Ceccon, and once again attacking for the lead.
Michelisz ultimately finished in second, meaning that the 34-year-old, who has yet to take a win in the current season, has moved up to third overall in the drivers’ championship standings.
“I really wanted to win,” said Michelisz. “But after the start I realised it was quite impossible even if I did the best start of my life to keep them behind. I don’t know what they do to their car, but it’s just fantastic the launch they are doing.
“I was P3, but then I saw Nicky struggling a bit. I don’t know what happened to him. Then I got to P2 and I just went for it.
“Fortunately, I was able to close the gap to Ma and then he didn’t do big mistakes. I tried to stay close and go side by side, but although I was a bit faster in the second part of the race it was never a possibility to overtake.
“From my side, I didn’t win a race, but I finished twice on the podium. I guess its important points for the championship which is the most important thing.”
Whilst there were no changes of position in the battle for victory, Michelisz praised the driving standards on display from the Team Mulsanne drivers.
“I think without Kevin probably my chances would have been much higher to overtake Ma, but he always joined us.
“I started to fight with Ma and we lost some time, so Kevin joined in. Then I started to fight with Kevin and then Ma disappeared. We played this game two or three times. It was good fun.
“I really enjoyed fighting with these kinds of racers, these kinds of people, because they are hard, they are tough, but we always leave each other just the necessary room on track. I hope it was fun for them too.”