Countdown to WTCR : High Five with Mikel Azcona

2022 WTCR FIA World Touring Car Cup Mikel Azcona Hyundai Elantra N TCR

A new Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing recruit for the fifth WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup season in 2022, BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse’s 25-year-old Spaniard Mikel Azcona talks dreams coming true.

Azcona is taking over from a legend and teaming up with a former king prior to going racing in his Goodyear-equipped Hyundai Elantra N TCR.

On a dream coming true…
“When I was 10 years old I realized I wanted to be a professional driver, to dedicate the rest of my life as a driver because I loved this sport and now, for me, it’s like a dream come true to be a professional driver with a brand like Hyundai. It’s a high-level brand and it’s an incredible opportunity. I’m really happy with this chance but, at the same time, it’s a big thanks to my family for all the effort they did during my career, supporting me from the first moment. I have the opportunity to win a world title, it’s my goal and I am in the perfect place to try to achieve this.”

2022 WTCR FIA World Touring Car Cup Mikel Azcona Hyundai Elantra N TCR

On saying goodbye…
“Leaving CUPRA was a difficult thing to do because I was with them for five or six years, working together with a very good relationship. It’s also a Spanish brand and I’m a Spanish driver. It was a difficult decision but, at the same time, I had to think of myself and my future. Sometimes it is not easy to do changes because you are very comfortable in one place, but I have been working for this opportunity and luckily it came. I felt anxious to leave but I’m very excited to start a new era, to know new people, to improve as a driver and as a person. In every aspect I will improve really a lot and I will do a big step in my career. I’m very convinced about my decision.”

On replacing Gabriele Tarquini, an FIA World Touring Car legend…
“It’s a pleasure because he did an amazing career with two world titles and you realize you need to do at least what he did. It’s a bit of pressure but you feel really happy about this because it means people in Hyundai think I am the perfect driver to use his seat so this is giving me full motivation. I am sure I can do the same result as Gabriele and I will try to improve higher and higher all the time. But I remember when he was in the WTCC I was watching him on TV at home winning races with SEAT, Honda and LADA, so to use the same car as an idol is incredible.”

2022 WTCR FIA World Touring Car Cup Mikel Azcona Hyundai Elantra N TCR

On teaming up with Norbert Michelisz, the 2019 King of WTCR…
“I am really happy to be Norbi’s team-mate. He’s a very nice guy and a really fast driver. It’s really good because he’s pushing me and I’m pushing him to the limit in terms of improving all the time. The first test I did with him in Aragón was really nice because sometimes I was faster by one-tenth, sometimes he was faster by two-tenths. We are helping each other but I am really learning a lot from him because he knows pretty well the car, he has the experience from WTCC and WTCR and he’s a good teacher. He is very open so I am very grateful to him to learn the car as fast as possible and all the tricks. Also, being his team-mate means there is one less serious rival on the grid because, as team-mates, we will try to help each other and I won’t need to battle car by car with him.”

CUPRA to defend championship title in FIA ETCR 2022

On getting to test before the season starts…
“In the last years I didn’t have the opportunity to have such an amount of testing like I have now. I realize all the time I am in the car I am improving with bigger steps and we are making a lot of kilometers and a lot of changes on the car. Before I was doing these kilometers during the race weekend so now I am one step better. I have to understand the car in a very short time because it’s completely new for me and I need to understand everything perfectly before the season starts.”

The 2022 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup season begins at WTCR Race of France from May 7/8 when Circuit de Pau-Ville hosts the action.