Norbert Michelisz crowned 2019 champion
BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse driver Norbert Michelisz has won the 2019 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup title, reaffirming our i30 N TCR’s position at the top of the global TCR category.
Norbert sealed the title at the season-ending WTCR Race of Malaysia, with three races taking place over a single day. The closing race of the campaign was held under floodlights at the Sepang International Circuit.
A tense finale
Norbert extended his championship lead on Friday as he clinched both pole positions on offer, and the ten points that came with them. More important was the dominant win in Race 1, which extended his advantage. It proved timely, as his closest rival took victory in Race 2 that was held in appalling conditions. The result set up a tantalising Race 3 showdown.
Despite losing the lead off the line, Norbert 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. He finished the season with 372 points – 23 more than his nearest rival.
“I could not be more proud to say we have a second BRC Racing Team-run Hyundai i30 N TCR driver as WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup winner in two years of racing,” said our Team Director Andrea. “Norbert has obviously been great, and fully deserves to be on top of the podium after an incredibly close season.”
Keeping it in the family
In lifting the WTCR title, Norbert 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, Gabriele himself was also among the frontrunners in 2019, taking a pair of race wins and finishing the year in eighth.
Norbert, meanwhile, claimed a total of five wins – at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, Vila Real, China’s Ningbo International Speedpark and Suzuka in Japan, before his Malaysian victory. He also stood on the lower steps of the podium five times, including second at Hungaroring, where our i30 N TCR cars finished 1-2 in the final race of the weekend for the second consecutive season.
“I am so happy to be able to say I am the WTCR World Touring Car Cup winner,” said Norbert. “It is such a fantastic feeling after such a tense day. From the start of the weekend the i30 N TCR was really fast, but the mixed conditions for the races still made it very challenging. Though it is a drivers’ title, it has been won with the help of the whole team. Without their work, and the performance of the car it would not be possible. Gabriele was one of the first people to congratulate me once we crossed the line. To follow him as the WTCR winner is amazing for me and especially great for the whole BRC Racing Team and the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department who are responsible for building the i30 N TCR.”
Rounding off a strong year
In total, Hyundai customers accumulated six pole positions, three fastest laps, 18 podiums and seven wins in a gruelling 30-race WTCR season.
Our President, Scott Noh, said: “Only a few weeks ago I was speaking to all the teams and drivers who have won titles with our TCR cars. Now we can add a second WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup drivers’ title to complete an excellent year. The series is incredibly competitive, with many very strong drivers, teams and manufacturers involved.
“For the Hyundai i30 N TCR to have consistently been at the front of the series for two full seasons is very impressive. It is a great indication of the talent of all the drivers with our customer teams, the teams themselves, everyone involved with the project as part of our Customer Racing department and of the performance of the car.”