Hyundai super-sub Nicky Catsburg returns for Middle East races

Hyundai will add a third Elantra N TCR for the final two FIA World Touring Car Cup events in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, with the Dutchman supporting Mikel Azcona’s title bid.

Catsburg, 34, last raced in WTCR in the 2020 season, when he took part in two events for Team Engstler in a Hyundai i30 N TCR whilst also dovetailing commitments in GT racing.

He has since been a part of Hyundai’s FIA eTouring Car World Cup team, racing the all-electric Hyundai Veloster, although again that has only been on a part-time basis.

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The Dutchman’s last full season of touring car racing came in 2019, when he contested the full 30-race WTCR season with the BRC Racing Team, with whom he will reunite next month.

Catsburg has some experience of the Bahrain International Circuit, but like all of the field, has never before driven on the short variant of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

“I know the series and the team from previous years and I’ve enjoyed racing and working with them,” said Catsburg, who will race as a wildcard entry and thus be ineligible for points.

“I’m very proud to be the driver called upon to come in for the crucial part of the season to support both Mikel and the team in their battle for the titles.

“In Bahrain and Saudi Arabia we are going to two very nice circuits, which will be new to almost everyone on the grid.

“The Hyundai Elantra N TCR is a brand new car to me, but I am confident that I can be on the pace quickly.

“Hopefully, I can get some strong results, and to help the team end the season on a high.”

Nicky Catsburg
Catsburg is a familiar face in the WTCR paddock. Photo: FIA ETCR

BRC Team Principal Gabriele Rizzo cited part of the reason for recruiting Catsburg was to boost the team’s ability to collect additional data at the two new venues.

“Adding a third Hyundai Elantra N TCR to our line-up is important for us as we aim to finish the FIA WTCR season with strong results in every remaining session,” said Rizzo.

“Mikel and Norbi [Michelisz] have done a fantastic job all year against larger teams, and we expect the opposition to be even stronger in the final rounds.

“I am looking forward to welcoming Nicky back to the team to help support us for these races. He has shown in the past that he is very competitive in the series, and incredibly quick to adapt to new challenges.

“In his first races with a new car, and on new tracks, this will be critical not only for him but to help the rest of the team during the race weekends in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

“The additional data from him will be important in making sure all three BRC Racing Team drivers are at the front of the grid and can finish the 2022 season as strongly as possible.”

The Bahrain round of the 2022 WTCR takes place on 10 – 12 November.

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