Norbert Michelisz has admitted that he still wants to prove to himself that he can win the title again, as the reigning champion heads into the start of the FIA World Touring Car Cup season at Zolder this weekend.
272 days after he lifted the 2019 title in Malaysia, Michelisz faces a number of new challenges as the season gets underway at Zolder this weekend.
As well as the cooler, Autumnal weather, the Hungarian must also adapt to the new Goodyear tyres along with the rest of the field.
When asked if he carried over the confidence from winning the title last year into the new season, Michelisz admitted that the passage of time and circumstances had perhaps diluted that somewhat.
“It’s quite strange because if you asked me the question [about renewed confidence] in March or April I would have told you that, OK it’s a different mindset,” said Michelisz. “But the longer you wait, the more you get back to a kind of zero.
“I mean, I have the extra confidence, but I still have the feeling that I want to prove to myself that I can do it again.
“To be really honest, it doesn’t feel a lot different. I know this sounds strange, but in the end, you don’t really think about the past, you just think about what challenges you have ahead, and that’s for me the key.
“I want to stay focussed. It’s nice to be champion, I always wanted to achieve that, but my main aim is to be successful in the medium to long term.”
Michelisz explained that although he and the BRC Racing Team which prepares his Hyundai have carried out some pre-season testing, the running has been limited by the coronavirus restrictions over the past months.
“[Preparation] was tricky. It was not the usual pre-season testing period, because you have to select the timing when you do the test.
“I mean, we are starting the season in September with different weather conditions to when you do the testing in summer.
“You have a lot of new elements now – especially with the tyres. It’s such a big change. Having different tyres can in itself change the order.
“We tried to focus on that by doing the tests, but again we had a limited amount of running because of the circumstances, so I’m curious to see, honestly, the order now.”