With two wins to his name from his rookie ETCR season, Hyundai Motorsport N driver Norbert Michelisz has a look back over his FIA ETCR season to date.
What’s your opinion of your season so far?
Very good! I didn’t really know what to expect from the FIA ETCR – eTouring Car World Cup season because the level is very high. I knew in the beginning I was a bit behind in terms of experience of how to drive the car but in the end I’m very happy with the progress. The positions didn’t always show the potential but I am happy. Last time out in Vallelunga would probably have been my best race weekend in terms of points but because of my puncture, it wasn’t. In the end, the important thing is the progress is there.
What have been the highlights for you?
Jarama was probably the first highlight for me. Before that it was a bit tricky, especially at the Hungaroring. I was expecting more from that event, but things didn’t really go my way. The performance in Jarama and the points scored – culminating with a podium in my group – was a really nice feeling. From that point, everything started to come together.
What’s been more challenging?
The biggest challenge was the shared race weekends with WTCR, especially the first one in Pau. I tried to prepare in the best possible way but in the end it was a bit too much. When you don’t know the package or don’t have the feeling regarding the fine details of the car just yet, it is very difficult to jump in and within five minutes to go for a Qualifying lap or for a final, because the time is so short that you need to be there from the first moment. This for me, not just in Pau but also in Hungary, was the most difficult part – to digest things so quickly wasn’t easy.
What makes racing in FIA ETCR unique?
The format is just very special. You have to imagine that sometimes we arrive to new circuits, we do a handful of laps on Friday on 300kW, maybe only one on 500kW, and then the next morning we immediately jump into Qualifying. It puts a lot of emphasis on what you can do as a driver, but this is also very exciting. I enjoy this part of the game, because it’s more or less the same for everyone. If someone knows the circuit and the others don’t, then you have a bit of an advantage but in the end I think it’s balanced itself throughout the season. As a driver it’s a big challenge to cope with this.
Everything can be going well and then you make a mistake in a Quarter or Semi Final – maybe you mess up the start and then you have 3-5 laps to make up for that. Against the drivers we have this year, that’s never easy. In the end the key is to be fully committed from the first moment of Qualifying until the last lap of the Super Final. It can sound a bit odd as that should be a priority in every other series as well, but you can lose so much in ETCR if you take one step in the wrong direction.