Sami Taoufik was ‘overall quite happy’ with his second season in TCR Europe, where the young Moroccan ended the year ninth overall in the drivers’ championship.
Taoufik had initially finished in fourth in the final race in Barcelona, before he was handed a post-race 30-second penalty for contact with Martin Ryba.
That meant that the 19-year-old missed out on ending the year eighth overall in the standings. Speaking to TouringCars.Net before news of the penalty had filtered down, Taoufik was proud of his efforts in race two.
“I’m very proud of myself, the team and my team-mates as well – everyone’s very kind here at SLR,” Taoufik told TouringCars.Net. “It’s definitely a good end to the season.
“I think I went from P9 up to P4; I’m very known for my overtakes on the first lap, like I did at Monza from P14 to P4 as well.
“I’m proud of myself and I enjoyed myself very much on the track and I’m very happy to be showing my flag around the world.
“Yesterday we made the podium, so the Moroccan flag was up there for everyone to see and to recognise there’s talent all around the world.”
Taoufik explained that he had been somewhat frustrated by a change in the Balance of Performance [BoP] for the Hyundai Elantra during the season, which he felt disadvantaged the car at higher-speed circuits.
“We got a BoP reduction in the middle of the season which didn’t make us too happy, especially as the last few races of the season were at really long tracks with long straights.
“Slipstreaming overtakes weren’t on our minds, because we simply couldn’t do it physically because of the car.
“But overall, I was quite happy. It’s still my second year in this category and I still have a lot to learn, but I think I’m ready to move on and keep fighting for next year hopefully.
“Any driver wants to take win, no matter who they are. I had a couple of bad results at the start of this year, but I think I managed to improve myself towards the end with a couple of podiums and I’m very happy the team won as well.”
Looking to next year, Taoufik explained that he is hoping to find some backing to help continue his racing career progression.
“There’s a lot of funding to do. Currently I don’t have any sponsors. My parents are funding the whole lot.
“They’re happy to see me on the podium but they’re not too happy to pay the pay cheques.
“I guess we’ll see for next year if anyone is wanting to sponsor the flag, the talent and the person, so we’ll see if there’s a budget for next year.”