Hyundai Motorsport N driver Kevin Ceccon’s time in the FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup was as short as it was sweet, with the Italian in action for the first two events of 2022 before handing over the reins to team-mate Nicky Catsburg.
An experienced touring car hand with a victory and seven podiums to his name at World Touring Car Cup level, Ceccon had earned a prized spot in the Hyundai Motorsport N squad after steering an i30 N TCR to success in the domestic TCR Italy Touring Car Championship in 2021.
Making his FIA ETCR debut at the wheel of the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR, Ceccon endured a steep learning curve on the unforgiving streets of Pau-Ville for the season-opening Infinite Reality Race FR.
Nevertheless, he muscled his way to a fourth place finish in the Pool FURIOUS DHL Super Final, which would go on to stand as his best result from the two DHL Super Finals in which he participated.
“FIA ETCR is tough but amazing,” said Ceccon after the first event.
“The level here is so high but that’s what I love. I made a mega start in the Super Final from sixth place – I tried to go round the outside as I had nothing to lose and gained some positions. I fought with Bruno Spengler for third place for the entire race. The pace was there and it was a great note to end the weekend on.”
Indeed, Ceccon sought an improvement on his debut next time out at the Hungaroring, an objective he completed with a more competitive weekend overall, even if he was left to rue letting a good opportunity escape him in the Quarter Final when he negated his strong start by out-braking himself into Turn 1.
Taking a fifth in his Pool FAST DHL Super Final pool, Ceccon would place eighth in the King of the Weekend rankings.
“Race HU started off with a great Qualifying,” said the Italian.
“The pace in the Quarter Final was not good enough to fight to improve on my third position. In the Semi Final it was a shame we could not do more with my pole position as I had an average standing start; we also saw others struggle when starting on the inside gate. Apart from that, it has been a great weekend. I was very comfortable with the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR and I was able to show some good pace.”
With Turkey dropping off the schedule after the Budpest event had taken place, Ceccon’s FIA ETCR season ended a race earlier than excepted with team-mate Nicky Catsburg taking over for what become round three in Madrid for Race SP.
“FIA ETCR is tough but interesting because it was my first season ever with an electric car,” said Ceccon.
“Previously I’ve driven GT3 cars and in the past formula single seater cars. Everything was a surprise for me, but I learnt a lot during the test days. When I was first on track with the ETCR Giulia in the in the braking zone I was searching for the gearbox! There was nothing! With no engine braking it’s just brakes which stop the car and that’s something different!
“The level of the drivers is really high. I honestly didn’t expect the level to be so high! Having such strong team-mates was good as I can learn more from them. But from another side is quite tricky for me because I have to you know, I have to put a big effort to stay with them!”
Hyundai Motorsport N
Hyundai Veloster ETCR
Season standings: 13th – 67 points [2 of 6 events]