In a fitting conclusion to the final WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup season, BRC Racing Team celebrates its first double winning campaign in the final round, WTCR Race of Saudi Arabia.
BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse driver Mikel Azcona took the qualifying crown at the 3.450km Jeddah Corniche circuit. The Spaniard set the third fastest lap on Saturday night, finishing on the second row for Race 1. Having finished more than six points ahead of the runner-up, it was confirmed that Azcona had done enough to finish the title earlier in the weekend.
Azcona succeeds his teammate Norbert Michelisz and Team Manager Gabriele Tarquini as the drivers' title winner and becomes the first Spaniard to be crowned King of the WTCR.
Race 1 and 2: how it went and competitors’ positions
Race 1 was an intense battle for all three Hyundai Elantra N TCR drivers, attacking and defending from the other cars for the entire 30 minutes + 1 lap. Michelisz scored his third podium of the season, finishing second. Meanwhile, teammate Azcona engaged in an entertaining duel for fifth place after losing three positions on the first lap. The Spaniard eventually crossed the finish line in sixth position. Catsburg was able to keep his cool as he defended his position throughout the race to finish where he had started the race, in seventh position.
The team's podium journeys would continue in Race 2 after Azcona recovered five positions during the duration of the race to finish third. Michelisz was on an overtaking streak, even recovering five positions to finish fourth. The two BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse drivers were unable to recover further positions after the race ended in safety car conditions. Catsburg had a less fortunate race, fighting for second place in the early laps, before being swept away by the car behind. The Dutchman was able to take the car to the pits before retiring early. At the end of the weekend, BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse would have finished 156 points ahead of their closest competitor, Azcona with an 83-point lead, confirming its dominant performance during the season. Michelisz would also move up in the standings to finish fourth overall with 222 points.
BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Team Principal, Gabriele Rizzo, said: "Incredible emotions! After 2018 with Gabriele and 2019 with Norbi, this is the third victory of a drivers' title for the team that makes it three out of five. This is the first WTCR team title win for us after finishing second twice earlier. It really is the icing on the cake of an incredible season. It has been a long journey since 2017 developing the Hyundai i30 N together with Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing, and then clinching the two drivers' titles before two seasons without titles and a car model change from the incredible i30 N to the superb Hyundai Elantra N TCR. I really believe that we have reached a great level with the complete package: strategies, drivers, qualifying performance and race consistency. We've really put it all together this season. An impressive show of strength and thanks to everyone, Mikel, Norbi, Nicky, Davide, the other two Gabriele, the engineers, the mechanics, our partners, the sponsors, all the people of our company at home, and of course all Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing. For their excellent customer service and it was great that they were able to attend this weekend with all the key people from Alzenau and Korea. It is a great honor for us to celebrate these two titles with them."
Mikel Azcona said: "It was a very nice, super exciting weekend, to get the title in qualifying in Q2. Race 1 and Race 2 were a bit difficult honestly, starting from P3 in the first and going back to P6 because we lacked top speed, but in the end our pace was very good. Honestly no chance to overtake here in Jeddah. Second race I was very surprised, we were lucky and we had some crashes ahead of us, so we gained some positions. I did my best to go to P2, but the car in front was too fast. It was a great way to finish the season like this in a podium position, so it's a great feeling."
Norbert Michelisz said: "Both races went well for me, I really wanted to win the first one, but with my start I wasn't able to take P1. To be honest from there I really did my best, but the pace was not enough to put pressure on Berthon. In the end, I think it was the best for me to finish in P2, happy with the points and the podium. Race 2 was very difficult at the beginning, my start was good and I managed to pass one or two cars, but then it was also a bit of luck, choosing the trajectories and passing through the field. The Hyundai Elantra N TCR worked very well, we made some good improvements. It's a shame to finish under the safety car because I think we had a good pace. But finishing P3 and P4 is a good result."
Nicky Catsburg said: "The race in Saudi Arabia was very interesting. We won the two titles, both the teams and the drivers, so a fantastic result. For me personally it was difficult. Qualifying went well and Race 1 went well, but Race 2 should have been my race. I think I would have been looking for a win or a podium, but unfortunately I was eliminated from the race. I have to say in general, a super nice weekend for all of us, very proud to be a super small part of it."BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS