Norbert Michelisz insists that he does not want to thin k about the overall FIA World Touring Car Cup title situation, despite the Hungarian moving to the top of the table in China at just over two thirds of the way through the season.
Michelisz took fourth in Saturday’s first race at the Ningbo International Speedpark, as erstwhile points leader Esteban Guerrieri picked up no points, to move closer to the top of the table after race one.
The BRC Racing driver was then victorious in a chaotic second race, despite contact with the Lynk & Co of Andy Priaulx. Michelisz was able to continue after he went into the back of the puncture-ailed Priaulx, before team-mate Gabriele Tarquini moved over to allow him to pass several laps later.
“To be honest, it was a very tough race,” said Michelisz. “I was really looking for the race win. It was not easy because Andy was defending quite hard.
“But in the end thanks to the work we’ve done from yesterday to today the car was quite good, and I was really happy to finish at the front.”
In race three Michelisz again made contact with Priaulx, but this time ended the race in the barriers and with a zero score, as Cyan Racing’s Yvan Muller led nephew Yann Ehrlacher in a 1-2 finish to close the title battle up departing China.
“Congrats to Yvan and Yann, congrats to Lynk & Co, thanks to Gabriele and to all my team because I think this weekend was also for us an important step.
“You can see that you had drivers getting very unlucky and then you had drivers scoring a lot of points, and like Yvan said it’s all about being consistent.
“I was a bit disappointed because of race three but in the end things like this happen. I received a small tap from behind which sent me sideways and I ended up in the guardrail on the exit of T8 and my rear-left upright was broken, so my race was finished there, unfortunately.”
Michelisz holds a 16-point advantage over the non-scoring Guerrieri with nine races still to go. He insists that he doesn’t want to look at the standings which he leads, having seen how drastically things can change at the top such as in Ningbo.
“I don’t want to be looking at [the standings]. There are nine races to go and it doesn’t matter who leads now.
“As Yvan said, you can score 60 or 70 points quite easily if things are coming your way, and I do not consider drivers who are fifth, sixth or even seventh to be out of contention.
“Of course, if you can choose you always choose to be at the front, but everybody has to consider that. There is a long way to go.”