- Hyundai Motorsport N driver Norbert Michelisz has claimed a King of the Weekend podium at the final round of the season, Race DE, this weekend (23-25 September)
- The Hyundai Veloster N ETCR showed strong pace around the East German circuit, taking three wins on-track in the races and a 1-2 in Pool Fast Quarter Final 2
- The Hungarian’s third-place finish at the Sachsenring helped to secure the team’s second place in the manufacturers’ standings at the end of an incredibly competitive season
Hyundai Motorsport N has secured second place in the 2022 FIA ETCR – eTouring Car World Cup manufacturers’ standings and departs the Race DE with a King of the Weekend podium.
In his best result of the season, Norbert Michelisz was in strong form as he claimed third place in the King of the Weekend fight. He began the event with the second fastest lap in Qualifying for Pool Furious to gain a place in Quarter Final 1. Feeling confident with his Hyundai Veloster N ETCR, Michelisz was able to push to the limit at a circuit he was previously unfamiliar with. From second place, he deployed his Power Up in the final corner in a bid to snatch the lead, only to lose out in a drag race to the finish line. An eventful Semi Final 1 saw him cross the line in second to net a front-row start for the Super Final. The Hungarian went on to challenge the leader for position on several occasions in the final race, finishing second to claim his first FIA ETCR podium.
His teammate Mikel Azcona faced a more difficult weekend. Despite being second fastest in Qualifying, Azcona was disqualified for a technical infringement on his car, which had been caused by damage after the Spaniard ran wide off the circuit during one of his runs. This demoted him to Quarter Final 2, where an intense race ensued. Running in second, he battled with Luca Filippi for position on the final lap, running wide in the downhill section and passing the Italian for first moments later. Unfortunately, he was penalised after the race and classified second. This placed him in Semi Final 2, where he claimed a victory to secure fourth place on the Super Final grid. Although the Spaniard was raring to fight hard in the last race, he had no Power Up boost and fell to last. He later gained a position to finish the weekend in fifth.
In Pool Fast, Nicky Catsburg had shown initial promise in his first Qualifying run. However, he was battling against understeer in his second attempt, and he set the fifth fastest time overall. In Quarter Final 2, a good launch saw Catsburg able to take advantage of Maxime Martin running wide at the first corner, and he manoeuvred his way into the lead of the race. Despite some contact between the two, he was able to stay ahead and cruise to a comfortable victory. An eventful Semi Final 1 saw him battle hard with Mattias Ekström from start to finish; he ultimately had to settle for third. His weekend ended in heartbreak in the Super Final; after a fantastic move up to second place midway through the race, Catsburg was hit by Martin, sending him sideways and dropping him down the order to last.
After a disappointing Qualifying, Jean-Karl Vernay lined up alongside Catsburg in Quarter Final 2. Soon after his teammate had overtaken the car ahead, Vernay was able to follow him through into second place. Although he was later passed on-track, Vernay regained the position following a penalty for Martin, securing a Hyundai Motorsport 1-2 finish. Vernay initially lost ground to his competitors in Semi Final 2 and dropped to third until a fantastic move in the run down to turn eight helped him fight back up to second place. From fifth, Vernay made up ground in the Super Final and was running in fourth behind his team-mate by the third lap. Unfortunately, contact earlier in the race had caused damage to his Hyundai Veloster N ETCR, and he struggled to defend from the cars behind. He fell to the back of the field and went on to finish fifth following Catsburg’s incident.
Norbert Michelisz (#5 Hyundai Veloster N ETCR)
- Strongest event of the year culminates with King of the Weekend podium
- Hungarian enjoyed a consistent weekend, finishing second in every race
It was a very solid race weekend – probably my best of the season, and it’s always nice to finish the year like this. It was a season mainly about learning and adapting myself to this new challenge, and I enjoyed every moment. We had some really tough ones, but I really feel now we are at the end that this is the best version of me as a driver. It’s always the most important thing for me to finish a year in this way. I’m very happy with the podium, I think I deserved it this weekend. I didn’t make mistakes and the pace was good. I really hope this journey will continue.
Mikel Azcona (#96 Hyundai Veloster N ETCR)
- Difficult finish to a promising first season with the team
- Lack of Power Up in Super Final hampered recovery from early setbacks
Race DE in two words: bad luck. It was a very difficult weekend for us, especially for me. I did an amazing lap in Qualifying but unfortunately, after scrutineering, we were disqualified. That meant I was going into the races last in the standings, but I managed to win with my incredibly competitive car.. Unfortunately, my win in the Quarter Final was taken away from me, and what can I say about the Super Final. We were fighting for third in the championship, I came here on full attack and tried my best to secure it. However, even without Power Up, the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR was mega strong. If I had my boost, I think I could have won – I felt incredibly fast.
Nicky Catsburg (#88 Hyundai Veloster N ETCR)
- Claimed dominant win in Pool Furious Quarter Final 2
- On course for strongest finish of the season before Super Final incident
It has been a very cool weekend, as always in FIA ETCR, with a bit of a bitter ending. I got pushed off in the last lap of the Super Final when I was running in a second-place finish, but it wasn’t meant to be. The racing is tough here. Sometimes we push others and sometimes they push us back, but that one in the Super Final was a bit over the limit. Unfortunately, it ended our race, but I must say, I really enjoyed the event and I hope to be back in the future. Overall, I’m feeling very positive, in the end, what happened today is what it is, but personally, I am a big fan of this championship. I love it.
Jean-Karl Vernay (#69 Hyundai Veloster N ETCR)
- Helped secure Hyundai Motorsport 1-2 in Pool Fast’s Quarter Final 2
- Frenchman claimed another second-place finish with an early move in Semi Final 2
Race DE has been like this year in general; really tough from beginning to end. I had some issues and made a mistake in Qualifying. The Quarter Final and Semi Final were pretty good, and I made a great start in the Super Final. Unfortunately, I was hit from behind, which destroyed my rear tow, and then the car was really hard to drive. I wasn’t able to help Nicky and it basically ended my race, so I am disappointed with the weekend. It is a shame because after Qualifying the car was really good and I enjoyed just racing here. The track is super nice and a lot of fun; we were really strong in the races.
It is fantastic to finish the year in second overall as a team and with another King of the Weekend podium. Norbert was on excellent form this weekend, and all of our drivers demonstrated the improved pace of the Hyundai Veloster N ETCR at Race DE. We have shown steady progress throughout the season, as we worked hard behind the scenes to extract the maximum potential and competitiveness from our package. Once again, we were very much in the mix for wins in the Quarter, Semi and Super Finals here in the Sachsenring. We would have loved to have finished the year with more, but we kept on fighting until the very last chequered flag in FIA ETCR.
King Driver Classification – Race DE
- Tom Blomqvist 100
- Adrien Tambay 100
- Norbert Michelisz 77
- Mattias Ekström 67
- Maxime Martin 61
- Giovanni Venturini 44
- Luca Filippi 41
- Mikel Azcona 40
- Bruno Spengler 39
- Nicky Catsburg 38
- Jean-Karl Vernay 35
- Jordi Gené 23
2022 FIA ETCR Manufacturers' Standings
After round 6
- Cupra 1076
- Hyundai Motorsport N 746
- Romeo Ferraris 732
2022 FIA ETCR Drivers' Standings
After round 6
- Adrien Tambay 535
- Mattias Ekström 488
- Tom Blomqvist 434
- Maxime Martin 421
- Mikel Azcona 408
- Bruno Spengler 306
- Norbert Michelisz 293
- Jean-Karl Vernay 254
- Jordi Gené 223
- Giovanni Venturini 214
- Nicky Catsburg 188
- Luca Filippi 181
- Kevin Ceccon 72