ETCC winner Szabó handed WTCC chance

ETCC winner Szabó handed WTCC chance

05/07/2017 09:00

Zsolt Dávid Szabó’s impressive performances in the FIA European Touring Car Cup have been rewarded with a step up to the FIA World Touring Car Championship with Zengő Motorsport for WTCC Race of Argentina later this month.

Szabó follows Norbert Michelisz, the ex-Zengő driver turned factory Honda contender, as a former online racer to be handed a dream opportunity to race in the WTCC via a stint in the ETCC. He will make his global series debut at Termas de Río Hondo from 14-16 July with fellow Zengő Motorsport young hopefuls Ferenc Ficza and Norbert Nagy expected to take it in turns to race the team’s second Honda Civic alongside their fellow Hungarian Dániel Nagy.

Aurélien Panis, who has raced for Zengő in the WTCC since the start of the season, is leaving the team to continue his learning year in front-wheel-drive machinery and will race a Honda in another series with more details to be announced by the French driver shortly.

Szabó, meanwhile, has been on impressive form in his rookie ETCC season, the 21-year-old taking his maiden victory in Vila Real last month after scoring his first podium at the Hungaroring in May in a Zengő-run SEAT.

Zengő Motorsport Team Principal Zoltán Zengő said: “Zsolt has impressed us with his pace and potential and ability to learn new tracks and adapt to new situations very quickly. As a team that takes pride from the work it has done in giving opportunities to young talents and nurturing their careers, we are very pleased to give Zsolt this opportunity in the WTCC and excited to watch him progress. It will be tough but there’s no better way to learn and he’ll be given all the help possible to aid his transition.

“While we are committed to running a second car alongside Dániel Nagy for the rest of the season, we are considering giving two of our other young drivers, Ferenc Ficza and Norbert Nagy, the chance to do a WTCC race and we’ll make an announcement on this in due course.”

Fábio Mota fought for a podium finish in both FIA European Touring Car Cup races at Zolder – but had to settle for a best result of fourth place scored in the first of two races in Belgium.

Seventeen-year-old Czech Václav Nimč will step up to the FIA European Touring Car Cup when the all-action series visits his homeland next month for ETCC Race of Most, the final event of the 12-round season.

Rudolf Pešović has explained what went wrong in Race 2 at FIA ETCC Race of Zolder – and his hopes for being back in action for Most finale next month.

Andreas Pfister reckons fifth place is as good as it could have got when the FIA European Touring Car Cup returned to Zolder last weekend.

Petr Fulín has publically thanked his Křenek Motorsport team for the work it did to keep his FIA European Touring Car Cup title bid on course.

Christjohannes Schreiber, Igor Stefanovski, Peter Rikli, Norbert Nagy and Petr Fulín attended the post-race press conference at FIA ETCC Race of Zolder. This is what they had to say.