King of WTCR Q&A with Mikel Azcona part one


King of WTCR Q&A with Mikel Azcona part one

The 2022 King of WTCR for BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, 26-year-old Spanish sensation Mikel Azcona looks back on his WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup success and what it was like to follow in Gabriele Tarquini’s wheel tracks.

When you arrived in Pau for the first event of the season did you think at that point you could become King of WTCR?
“To be honest not. I knew at that point in Pau I had the team, I had the car, the brand to be competitive and probably be more competitive than in the past seasons. We always thought BRC was the team to beat and I was confident, but I honestly wasn’t thinking about winning the title. Having Norbi [Michelisz] in my team, he was the driver who was in the team for four years and it was my first time in the team so I knew that I would need some time to adapt myself into the new team, the car and everything. But straight away, when I finished that weekend and won my first race in Pau, I felt very strong, I felt very good. I was comfortable and happy with my situation.”

As the replacement for the legend that is Gabriele Tarquini did you feel you proved in Pau that you were the right choice for the drive?
“To replace Gabriele is something very big and to be the driver in his car, his seat, fighting for the title and to be one of the names on the Hyundai table was very important. I knew they wanted me to replace Gabriele, but they wanted good results, to fight for good things. In some aspects, I was having a little bit of pressure, let’s say. But not so much, honestly, because when I first drove the car I said to myself, ‘now we can do a good season and the results the team wants’. But it was very intense to replace Gabriele.”

When was the moment that you thought I’ve got this, I can win the title?
“It happened to me in Aragón in the middle of the season. I won that race at home, I was increasing my lead in the points and we didn’t have so many weekends remaining. So I started to think about the title, realising that I was in a good position in the middle of the season fighting for the title. I started to think more and more every day about winning the title and I was constant from that moment in Aragón.”

At what event were you most happy with your performance?
“At MotorLand Aragón because we had some good races with the Lynk & Cos still in the battle. That was a good weekend, winning one race, finishing P3 in the other race. It was a very good weekend for results, it was my birthday and many of my friends and family were there. There was extra motivation and extra support. I remember in the second race I was starting from the back with the reverse grid but then I was overtaking some cars until I finished P3. I enjoyed the overtaking a lot and, at the same time, watching my family and friends supporting from the grandstand. And as a team we did a very good job. Unfortunately, Norbi was involved in a crash with Ma Qing Hua. But in the end that weekend is the one I felt more comfortable and I liked the performance.”

You turned 26 that weekend, did you imagine you’d win the world title at such a young age?
“When I started in WTCR in 2019 for sure that was my target. But straight away when we started that season in Marrakech, I realised it would be a very difficult task for me and probably it would take a couple of years to make it. Probably I was thinking it could be possible in the fourth season. In one part it was a bit surprising for me to win the title in my first season with a new team and in a new car. But, for me, it was the best opportunity I had joining Hyundai Motorsport and I’m very proud of that. They gave me this big opportunity to be part of this impressive team and big team that is Hyundai Motorsport. It’s a very nice feeling to win the WTCR title with Hyundai Motorsport. It’s something since 2019 I was thinking about, but I was very realistic and I didn’t think I could win in a short time. It’s a very nice feeling.”

Races: 16 Wins: 4 Podiums: 7 Pole positions: 2 Fastest laps: 3 Laps led: 61 Points: 337

Visit soon for part two


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