Zsolt Dávid Szabó will replace Dániel Nagy at M1RA for the remainder of the TCR Europe season, after Nagy announced a late decision to depart from the Hungarian Hyundai team.
Nagy has raced with the Hungarian team in TCR Europe since the start of the 2018 season, whenhe finished fifth overall in the drivers’ standings after one win, remaining in the title fight until the penultimate round.
M1RA also guided Nagy to a podium in WTCR last year, when he entered the Hungarian round as wildcard entry.
However, Nagy has now decided to part ways with the team, after a challenging start to 2019 has seen him claim just one podium and two top tens out of eight races so far, whilst team-mate Luca Engstler is second in the standings.
A statement from the team gave further context to the decision of Nagy to leave – marking the second time in as many seasons that a driver has walked away from M1RA at short notice, after Francisco Mora left just before Assen in 2018.
“Shortly before the German round of the TCR European Cup on 2-4 August, we were informed that Dániel Nagy and his father had decided that our competitor would not go to Oschersleben for the weekend. We have taken note of their determination and will respect it,” said a statement from the team.
“Our shared story of winning eight podiums in 12 weekends started last year with a second place finish at WTCR in Hungaroring, then in Assen we celebrated Dani’s first international victory and started 2019 with a podium in the European Cup.
“Although the season has been more difficult to continue, we still believe in the abilities of Dani and the team, and that together we could have a good chance of returning to success, even at Oschersleben.
“We now have to focus on the race ahead of us, with Luca Engstler, the runner-up, to fight to win the European Cup.”
Later on Thursday, the team revealed a late deal had been done with Szabó.
“We took notice and respect it,” explained Team Principal Dávid Bári. “We have to focus on the races ahead, with Luca Engstler who is fighting for the TCR Europe title, and so it was important to find the right replacement for Dániel.
“We know Zsolt’s skills and how motivated he is. I think he definitely deserved an opportunity to come back to an international level.”
Szabó has strong experience in international touring car racing, having competed in TCR International in 2015, WTCC and ETCC in 2017 and WTCR in 2018.
“Words cannot say how grateful I am to M1RA for this opportunity,” said Szabó. “It’s not yet the time to celebrate, because I have a lot to learn. This weekend could be one of the biggest challenge of my racing life, but I can’t wait to hit the track at Oscherlsben.”