Hyundai Motorsport N is on a mission to challenge for the King of the Weekend crown as the FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup heads to its first permanent circuit of the year with the Hungaroring for round 2 of the series, Race Hu, on June 10-12.
After the season-opener saw success for rival manufacturer CUPRA, the Hyundai Motorsport N team is hungry for success at Race HU with a mission to challenge for the King of the Weekend crown as well as move up the manufacturers’ standings in Hungary.
In Infinite Reality Race FR, the Hyundai Motorsport runners showed good pace in the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR, with Mikel Azcona claiming fourth overall in the standings after his second place in the DHL Super Final.
Jean-Karl Vernay claimed pole position at the Circuit de Pau-Ville, while his Hungarian team-mate Norbert Michelisz claimed his first-ever FIA ETCR victory in his Semi Final. Meanwhile, Kevin Ceccon displayed improved confidence and speed in the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR every session, finishing his final race in fourth.
Following the postponement of Race TR, the Hungaroring will be the first permanent circuit on the 2022 FIA ETCR calendar. The 4.381km circuit previously hosted the penultimate PURE ETCR round in 2021, in which the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR demonstrated great pace and claimed victories in the Battle rounds.
“We head to Race HU feeling positive – we made progress in every session at the Race FR and we want to continue that momentum,” said Hyundai Motorsport Director of Marketing and PR, Stefan Ph. Henrich.
“All four of our drivers have shown they can be quick in the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR, and we are confident that we can challenge for the King of the Weekend crown. We hope our valuable learnings from the first round of the season, coupled with our PURE ETCR experience at the Hungaroring last year, will help us to secure important points for the title fight.”
Leading the Hyundai Motorsport charge last time out, Mikel Azcona is hoping history can repeat itself in Hungary.
“I’m certain we can fight for the King of the Weekend in Race HU; I know what it takes to win at the Hungaroring, having done so in PURE ETCR last year,” Azcona explained.
“I think we have a strong package in the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR; it was amazing in Race FR and I was gaining confidence throughout the weekend. On a normal circuit, we will have more opportunities to battle in the sessions and better chances to overtake.
“Our learnings from the first weekend combined with our existing experience of this circuit gives us all the elements we will need to bring home a strong result.”
A fan favourite at his home track, Norbert Michelisz hopes familiarity will breed success.
“Racing in Hungary is always special for me, it’s my home event and I enjoyed wonderful moments at this venue in the past,” he said.
“Since it will be a more familiar circuit for me, I hope that it will help me to adapt even more quickly to the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR, and that I can fight for good points. The main target is to build the momentum we gathered in Pau. For sure it won’t be easy because of the tight schedule with WTCR sessions, but I will do my very best to secure strong results.”
Moving on from his home track, Jean-Karl Vernay reckons the pace is there for a better result this time out.
“We showed that we were quick in Qualifying and during the races in the first FIA ETCR round of the year, so this is a positive foundation for the rest of the season,” said J-K.
“There are a few areas we need to improve but I’m feeling very positive about our performance and potential for the remaining rounds of the season. I’m very familiar with the Hungaroring and have been successful here in the past, including the PURE ETCR round last year. Hopefully, we can be fighting at the front and scoring more poles and wins in the races.”
Finally, a potential dark horse for the weekend, Kevin Ceccon has also enjoyed success at the Hungarian track in the past.
“I’m really looking forward to the race in Budapest,” he said.
“I have lovely memories over the years of this circuit, as I won my first race in Auto GP here and I also won in GP3.
“I hope to continue my learning curve with the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR after the first race in Pau. On a more conventional track, it should be easier to overtake and challenge for victories.
“Budapest is also a town I love and I’m looking forward to many of my friends and fans coming to support us. I hope the people in the grandstands and in the paddock can share our passion and energy for the FIA ETCR.”