Zengő Motorsport endured a difficult start to the FIA World Touring Car Cup season at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, as its four drivers were caught in incidents and suffered from a lack of pace in the two races at the weekend.
Across four high-grade drivers, only Bence Boldizs managed to score any points, as the Hungarian team struggled for outright pace with their CUPRA fleet.
To rub salt into their wounds, Zoltan Zengő’s crew were also left with a hefty repair bill after the weekend’s action at the Nürburgring, as both Mikel Azcona and Jordi Gené were involved in a sizeable first lap incident in race two.
The results will have been particularly disappointing though, as 2021 is supposed to mark a leap forward for the team in regards to their stature within the WTCR paddock.
The signings of 2012 World Champion Rob Huff and CUPRA factory driver Gené added to an already promising driver line-up of Azcona and Boldizs, leaving many to assume that the team could be dark horses for the 2021 championship honours.
That still might be the case – it’s only round one after all – though it seems like there’s plenty of work to do before any of those drivers can really begin to shine this season.
After a bruising weekend for Huff, the Dubai-based Brit was disappointed to have been involved in so much contact at the tail end of the field.
“It was a very tough one,” he said. “In the first race, I got shoved by a Honda, which caused damage to the car. The inner lining of the wheel arch was cutting into the tyre, so I had to pit for that.
“And then in race two, no one wanted to give any space into Turn 1, and unfortunately it ended in a lot of cars taking damage and not finishing the race.”
Being at the Nordschleife, Huff’s return to the series following a year’s sabbatical was never going to be easy, but even with that caveat in mind, a brace of retirements was far from the target that he would have set himself.
He and the team have already got their eyes on round two in Portugal, though Huff remains disappointed that his WTCR comeback was blighted by incidents that were out of his control.
“It’s a shame, as when you’re that far at the back, you’ve got all the time in the world,” he said.
“Unfortunately, some people who were new to the championship and a little too impatient caused a lot of damage at the back of the grid for no real reason.
“Our damage was way too much, we had no top speed; and also when I did get spun, I collected my team-mate Mikel [Azcona] which was very unfortunate.
“It’s been a tough weekend for the team, certainly character building. We’re already looking on to the next one at Estoril.”
As a driver who is known for succeeding around street circuits with little margin for error, the tight and twisty Portuguese track should be much more akin to Huff’s strengths.