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WTCR Q&A: Nicky Catsburg

2019-04-09T17:58:42+02:00April 9th, 2019|2019, WTCR AFRIQUIA Race of Morocco 2019|

Race 2 at WTCR AFRIQUIA Race of Morocco on Sunday was going very much to plan for Nicky Catsburg on his debut weekend in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO.

Then it all went wrong when the Dutchman’s LUKOIL-backed Hyundai suffered a brake issue that sent his Hyundai i30 N TCR into the tyre barriers and out of the race. This is what he had to say after his dramatic exit.

What happened?
“I am not entirely sure. Obviously brake issues have been a problem all weekend, but I have to say this was not linked to normal brake temperature-related brake issues. I was the only guy not having to worry about cooling the brakes because I was in front, actually the brakes were working a lot better than Saturday. But I arrived at Turn 10 and the pedal goes to the floor. Something broke, something went wrong and I just couldn’t slow down the car, I couldn’t pump the pedal up, it was just gone. I tried to turn right to avoid hitting the concrete wall and luckily there were some tyres there. The hit was not that hard but hard enough to have an unrepairable car for the second race.”

How tough was it to take?
“It’s just an enormous shame in a weekend where we are struggling slightly because of Balance of Performance. I would have been able to get a lot of points and maybe from the next race on we would have been stronger and it would have been easier to score more points. These were the points that were extremely important and it’s so bad to be on the back foot already after one race. I don’t want to get too fussed about it but I don’t understand why it has to happen to me.”

It must have been quite a shock?
“For a driver I always say this is the worse feeling. It doesn’t only feel like you can’t brake but it also feels like you are accelerating into a wall because your whole body is preparing to slow down but you’re not. I’ve had it four times in my career and it’s simply the worst feeling there is. You can probably see it on the in-board camera because I close my eyes just before I hit the wall because you don’t know how hard you are going to hit it and you don’t know if it’s going to hurt your neck so it’s really bad.”

You took some time to thank your mechanics for trying to repair the car in time for Race 3. What do you say to them?
“They worked really hard and they have to work on a car which is 1000 degrees hot so for them it’s obviously just as bad as it is for me because we’re a team and we need to do it together.”

Gabriele Tarquini said you deserved to win the race. How good is that to hear?
“Gabriele and me have a great relationship. We both had a clean start and he was able to slot in behind me and we were doing a good job managing the race. He had a little gap to me to try to cool down his brakes, he was managing his gap to Jean-Karl Vernay. If I saw Vernay was getting closer, I would try to push a bit more. We were doing a great job. If it was him or another team-mate to win then great but I would have loved it to have been me.”