Norbert Michelisz

  • Results in WTCC/WTCR

    238 Races
    14 Victories
    53 Podiums
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Zengő Motorsport's Norbert Michelisz is aiming to improve his championship position of last year, the best of the rest behind the factory Citroën drivers, and hopes to target what he believes is the most important goal, winning a race from the non-reversed grid in 2015.

Michelisz has assisted the factory driver pairing of Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini during the winter testing programme, the only one of the independent Honda drivers invited to do so after his achievements last season, finishing ahead of the both of them in the drivers' standings and regularly fighting with the all-conqueuring Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs at the front of the grid.

"(This was) the first time I could join Honda for winter testing," said Michelisz to TouringCarTimes. "For me the missing point was always to drive the car before the first races, but now I have the chance to start the season with a proper feeling for the car, so I've been busy but I've enjoyed it a lot."

In terms of expectations of the improvements that JAS Motorsport have made to the Honda Civic WTCC during the off season, the Hungarian says it's too early to judge.

"It's a difficult situation as I was very confident ahead of last year. From the feeling it's really good, but with the information from last year that Citroën was two steps ahead it's difficult to judge how close we'll be. I don't expect us to be the reference point for this season, but I expect the gap to be much less than it was last year.

"As a driver you can feel the results on the engine and on the suspension, and when you can feel the results without looking at the data it's always a sign of improvement."

For 2015, with the removal of the TC2T category for older specification cars, the Yokohama Trophy returns as a privateers class, which Norbert Michelisz will again be eligible for after winning the title in 2012, however the 30-year-old explains he has no intention to focus on this as his campaign.

"For me, if you're part of the trophy like the Yokohama Trophy, sometimes you have to be strategic to score as many points in the Yokohama Trophy, but with this strategy you can lose some points in the overall standings.

"After finishing fourth last season, my goal is to improve that position. So if I'm improving on fourth and I'm finishing second or third in the Yokohama Trophy, I'm more happy with that than winning the Yokohama Trophy and finishing seventh or eighth (overall)."

A race victory eluded Michelisz in 2014, after having won at Suzuka in 2013, the Hungaroring in 2012 and at Macau in 2010, something which he hopes to right this year, but explains it was perhaps that the team never tried for the reverse grid strategy which mostly explains this.

"We never did a strategy to go for the reverse grid, OK we did it once in Salzburg, I'm sorry for that, but for me qualifying in the second part of the season, for all of us it was very important to perform at the maximum level with the equipment we have.

"From a philosophical point of view if you're not performing at your maximum you don't really know what the real gap is to Citroën, so for me it's always the first race that counts. I think the race victories for Gabriele (Tarquini) and Mehdi (Bennani) were great victories, with quite a relaxed margin to the Citroëns, but if we are honest with each other the true performance is shown by the first race performance, and my target for this season is to win a first race."

Source: Touringcartimes