Spaniard tops the title chase with four WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup races remaining
BRC’s Hyundai-powered star heads to Bahrain leading by 35 points but with 130 up for grabs
New venues won’t faze “very confident” Middle East-bound ace racer
BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse’s Mikel Azcona is the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader heading to the title-deciding WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. This is what the 26-year-old Spaniard has had to say.
With a 35-point advantage and four races remaining, how confident are you ahead of WTCR Race of Bahrain?
“I’m feeling so good. Always when you go to the last rounds leading it’s better with 35 points to the driver in second. But there are still 130 points available and everything can happen. However, if I am honest, I am very confident because if we look back on the season we have had good results in evey weekend so there is no reason why we cannot continue in this line and keep the same pace we have had for the full season. I am preparing myself like I have never done in my life to win because this is a very important moment of my career and I know I can achieve a great result. My goal is to win the world title and I will do everything possible to get this.”
How have you prepared for the Middle East double-header?
“My preparation started two months ago, actually. I have been thinking every single day about the last two rounds to be ready to win the title. My training is on the simulator first of all, just to know the track, to have all the references, all the lines, as much information as possible to be ready for the first free practice and not to lose any seconds when it starts. Apart from that I am training a lot with Emiliano Ventura, the physio from Hyundai Motorsport. He is helping me with my physical preparation, my concentration, my psychological preparation, which is very important because we have to think what can happen in the last rounds. Good things can happen but we have to be prepared if things that are not good happen.”
You’ve never raced at Bahrain or Jeddah, is that a worry?
“This question is always in my head but I am not worried. At the moment, with a few days to go before Bahrain, I feel super-ready. I know all the braking points, I know all the information from the track, we have tried different set-ups on the simulator, we have already some good details to apply in free practice, which is very important. Since I was a child I was playing on PlayStation, racing at Bahrain. It’s a very famous track from Formula One, but I don’t think it’s going to be the track for our car because there are long straights and normally we are suffering in these areas.”
To what extent does the fact you’ve already won two major titles help you with the mental challenge that lies ahead?
“That’s very important. My goal is to win the world title having been TCR Europe champion twice. That is the best achievement I have done in my career so far but I am fully focused to have more achievements by winning the world title. Thanks to Hyundai Motorsport and BRC for putting me in the best position I can be as a driver. I am leading now and I will do all my best to come back from Jeddah with a big trophy for my city and my family. They were the first ones who believed in me at the beginning and they were the first ones who gave me the opportunity to do my passion as my job. I will fight for them.”
Nicky Catsburg will drive a third BRC Hyundai Elantra N TCR in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. What difference can he make to your title challenge?
“I’m very happy to have Nicky with us. I am driving with him in ETCR and I know how good he is and how experienced he is and how much experience he can bring to the team to perform the lap times. In this kind of situation, fighting for the title, it’s everything good that we can have another car on the track, we can have more information and more help. At the same time we have two more opponents from Comtoyou so many things are on the table and we have to try to keep our heads and stay consistent.”
Bahrain International Circuit hosts WTCR Race of Bahrain, Rounds 15 and 16 of the 2022 WTCR season, from November 10-12 with Jeddah International Circuit the venue for WTCR Race of Saudi Arabia, Rounds 17 and 18, from November 25-27. Click HERE to view the provisional standings.