FIA ETCR drivers Michelisz and Azcona take desert wins

Though the first-ever FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup season is over, many of the drivers are keeping themselves busy on other duties, not least in the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup in Bahrain this past weekend.

FIA ETCR Hyundai Motorsport N drivers Norbert Michelisz, Mikel Azcona and Nicky Catsburg were out in action in Hyundai N colours in the penultimate round of the WTCR season and first for the series in Bahrain, and it was a strong weekend for all three.

Michelisz scored his first WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup victory of the season in Race 2 at WTCR Race of Bahrain, whilst wildcard Nicky Catsburg scored a fine third place on his first weekend back in the WTCR since 2020.

Goodyear #FollowTheLeader Mikel Azcona charged from P10 on the grid to be classified fourth in that second race, leaving him with a healthy 60-point advantage over his title rival ahead of the final event, WTCR Race of Saudi Arabia, which takes place at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit from November 25-27.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Michelisz after his win.

“I was a bit lucky after the start, there was some carnage. I managed to overtake some people there and I was just trying to find the right place to attack Esteban. My car was just brilliant again today, all weekend it was, so big credit to the team. Sometimes it looks easy from the outside but it was not easy today. Although it was a bit easier because of the equipment I had! It’s not been an easy season, but now I’m getting things together.”

Catsburg was delighted with his third place. “Man, it’s so hot in these cars,” he said. “Every time I come back in a WTCR car I realise it’s like a sauna in there. Very hot but super-happy to have a podium on my Wildcard event, so let’s hope for even better in Jeddah.”

Earlier in the weekend, it was Azcona on the top step.

The Spaniard charged to his fourth victory of the season by dominating Race 1 to lead Michelisz to an impressive 1-2 finish.

Azcona made a perfect start from pole as Michelisz rose from fourth to ride shotgun in second at Bahrain International Circuit. The pair moved clear of the field to control the race in style.

“It was easy enough,” admitted Azcona. “I made a very good start, that was the key of the race. I was a bit afraid of Berthon because we had seen in the previous races the Audis are quick and strong, fast in the straight. But very quickly I saw he was in some kind of problem so there was free space for me, so from this point it was just to see what the conditions were like in the night. The track was slightly better than in the morning because there was no sun and very low temperature, so from this point I had good management with Norbi.”