Hyundai i30 N TCR customers take second FIA WTCR title
- Hyundai i30 N TCR driver Norbert Michelisz secured the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup title after a dramatic finale weekend at the WTCR Race of Malaysia
- The Hungarian follows directly in the footsteps of his BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse teammate Gabriele Tarquini, and reconfirms the i30 N TCR at the top of the TCR category
- Together, Hyundai customers in the series claimed seven wins and a total of 18 podiums in the gruelling 30-race season.
15 December 2019 - BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse driver Norbert Michelisz has won the 2019 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup title, reaffirming the Hyundai i30 N TCR’s position at the top of the global TCR category.
The Hungarian driver sealed the title at the Sepang International Circuit at the season-ending WTCR Race of Malaysia. The event brought the extremely competitive campaign to a frantic finale with all three races taking place over a single day, with the closing event of the campaign held under floodlights.
Michelisz extended his championship lead on Friday as he clinched both pole positions on offer for the weekend, and the ten points that came with them. More important was the dominant win in Race 1, further building his advantage. It proved timely, as his closest rival took victory in a Race 2 conducted in appalling conditions to set up a tense finale.
Despite losing the lead off the line Michelisz kept calm and managed the race to make sure he took the result needed for the title. He held on to fifth position (which became fourth following post-race penalties) to protect his lead to bring his points’ tally up to a total of 372 - 23 more than his nearest rival at the close of the year.
In lifting the WTCR title Michelisz follows directly in the footsteps of teammate Gabriele Tarquini, who took the drivers’ title in the first season of racing for the i30 N TCR in 2018. Even as outgoing champion Tarquini himself was also among the frontrunners on the 2019 grid, taking a pair of race wins and finishing the year in eighth place in the championship.
Michelisz, meanwhile, tallied a total of five wins across the year – taking the chequered flag first in races at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, Vila Real street circuit, China’s Ningbo International Speedpark and Suzuka in Japan before his victory in Malaysia. He also stood on the lower steps of the podium five times. That count included a second place at the Hungaroring, where i30 N TCR finished 1-2 in the final race of the weekend for the second consecutive season.
Unsurprisingly, given the pace of the car and the two teammates, the BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse also finished the season well placed in the teams’ championship. The outfit started the Sepang weekend with a chance of taking the title – a result that would also see them succeed another Hyundai customer – and with a double podium in the first race in Malaysia closed in on the points’ leaders before the final races. Though the duo continued to push, they could only maintain their place in the standings to secure the runner-up spot for BRC Racing Team for the second year in a row.
The second pair of i30 N TCR – run under the BRC Hyundai N Lukoil Racing Team banner – finished sixth in the points with regular drivers Nicky Catsburg and Augusto Farfus 13th and 15th respectively in the final drivers’ standings.
In total, Hyundai customers accumulated six pole positions, three fastest laps, 18 podiums and seven wins in a gruelling 30-race season. The pinnacle of international Touring Car racing, the 2019 WTCR brought together seven different manufacturers for the most competitive and high-profile series using the incredibly successful TCR regulations. Michelisz’s 2019 title, despite challenges from both new names to the series and more familiar rivals confirms the i30 N TCR as the leading car in the category.