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Mikel Azcona: ‘I worked to win the world title all my life’

Mikel Azcona delighted in becoming the final FIA World Touring Car Cup champion, saying he had worked towards such a goal all of his life, after gaining enough points to secure the honour in qualifying on Saturday.

Azcona put his Hyundai in third for the opening WTCR race in Saudi Arabia, and with it he also scored the second-fastest overall qualifying lap, scoring him a further eight points as rival Néstor Girolami scored none to open up an unassailable points lead.

After becoming the first Spaniard to win a World Touring Car title, Azcona reflected on his impressive success in 2022, which he adds to two TCR Europe titles achieved in 2018 and 2021.

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“It’s a fantastic feeling,” said the 26-year-old. “Honestly, it’s something that I was working for for a long time, basically all my life.

“This season was a perfect one, I have to say. Since the first moment I entered into the team I had a very good welcome, since the first day with Norbi [Michelisz], with everybody in the team, my mechanics, everybody. If you are next to the good people good things are coming.

“I have to thank everybody on the team for all their jobs, not only at race weekends, but also Monday to Monday.

“The world was very intense through all of the season, but in a good way in Pau.”

Azcona put his success in part down to team-mate Michelisz, who helped him to settle in at the BRC Racing team, after Azcona left CUPRA and Zengő Motorsport at the end of the 2021 campagin.

“I have to thank Norbi as well for a great season working together. He’s been a fantastic team-mate and a fantastic friend. It’s unbelievable to have that kind of person around you.

“I would say if you are around these kind of people good things are coming and this trophy is because of them. So, thank you to Hyundai Motorsport and BRC, and now I am world champion and it’s a fantastic feeling.

“I have to thank my family, my girlfriend, everybody who are supporting me all the time, which is many people. I’m sure at the moment in my village they are watching me, not so many people because we are only 2000. But for sure they are watching me.

“I’m very happy and very proud. Now we have to celebrate and enjoy with all the team, and as well focus on [Sunday’s] races because we need points for the manufacturers’ [title] and I will try to work for Norbi as well as he is trying to improve some positions in the championship.

“It’s unbelievable. Honestly at the moment I don’t have words.

“The last year and season of WTCR, to win the championship is incredible. We will see what happens in the future but for the moment I will try to enjoy probably the next month.”

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