Announced less than a week before the start of the season and without any track time before the Vallelunga opener, PURE ETCR 2021 looked set to be one of the biggest challenges of Dániel Nagy’s career before it had even started.
But the Hungarian, who turned 23 during the year, is nothing if not resilient, and he showed all his strength of character to emerge from a challenging year with his head held high.
Luck was not on Nagy’s side in the pre-weekend draw; the Budapest native usually the only one of the CUPRA X Zengo Motorport drivers not to benefit whenever the random starting positions tended to favour the manufacturer.
Such a trend put several drivers on the back foot from the word go, but buoyed by his familiarity with the Zengo team – with which he made his international race debut in the FIA World Touring Car Championship in 2016 – he focused on gaining speed with the unfamiliar 500kW electric powertrain and the Power-Up.
His best weekend came at his home event at the Hungaroring – just a week before brother Viktor won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics as part of Hungary’s Water Polo team.
On the pace throughout, he claimed his maiden Battle win in Round 2 on Saturday and then finished third on the road in his DHL SuperFinal, only to be docked points post-race for causing a collision with Luca Filippi’s Romeo Ferraris-M1RA Guilia ETCR.
Aiming to use that momentum to propel him into contention for King of the Weekend in France, luck was again against him when he was drawn in the same Pool and Group as points leading team-mate Mattias Ekström.
Playing the dutiful team name, Nagy supported Ekström’s ultimately successful title bid and helped CUPRA X Zengo Motorsport to secure the Teams’ crown too.