Norbert Michelisz penalised for causing crash in WTCR race one

The FIA World Touring Car Cup race stewards have dealt Norbert Michelisz a thirty-second time penalty, having deemed him to be responsible for the incident in race one which saw both Petr Fulin and Nathanael Berthon retire.

Upon entry to the turn one chicane, Michelisz braked later than the cars in front of him, resulting in contact with the rear bumpers of Fulin and Yvan Muller. Muller then consequently tagged the right-rear quarter of Berthon’s Audi, spinning it across the nose of Fulin’s CUPRA.

As such, the Hungarian drops from seventh in that race, to sixteenth – outside of the points-paying positions.

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Nevertheless, Michelisz’s weekend is at least partially salvaged by the fact that he took victory in race two. Race wins seem to be becoming gradually more scarce for him as the years go by, so this was a result to savour.

“I felt it was a long time coming, that a race victory would come,” Michelisz admitted. “To be honest it was one of the most difficult races of my career because when I saw I was in front and Mikel was behind I just realised that I needed to give it 100 percent and fortunately the car was just great. 

“I mean I was attacking, sometimes I was sliding a bit but the balance was just great. In the end I managed to do fifteen laps without any big mistakes. But I really enjoyed this fight. 

“From the outside I’m not sure all the people understood what was happening but this race I gave it 110 percent from lap one until the end.”

Indeed with TCR’s man in form right behind him, Michelisz’s victory was certainly hard-fought.

“Having Mikel in the mirror is not the most comfortable thing in life as a race car driver,” he joked. “This made it a bit more tricky, but in the end I had confidence in myself and in the car. Thanks to the team again for setting up the car so great. 

“And in the end as a race car driver if you have a tool like I had today, I don’t want to say it’s easy but you have the confidence and then you can push without any big mistake. 

“But congrats to Mikel because it was just amazing to fight like this and to Esteban [Guerrieri] because he did two fantastic races today. 

“But I’m very happy for myself to be honest. It’s just the confidence boost I wanted and needed.”

So, with this new-found boost in confidence and morale, what does ‘Norbi’ hope to achieve in the upcoming WTCR Race of France?

“It’s difficult to tell because it’s a completely different circuit,” he said. “It’s new for everyone as far as I know. It’s impossible to tell who is going to be in front. 

“We try to prepare. I did some laps, but not a lot in the end. We have to be efficient in free practice sessions and if we are efficient analysing the driving and analysing how to set up the car I’m confident we can finish inside the top ten. 

“But saying anything more than that is too tricky because I think the order can change upside down because it’s a jump into the complete unknown. But I’m looking forward to that. 

“It’s nice to have a race in one week’s time because the gap since Hungary was a bit too long.”

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