WTCR Race of Bahrain pre-event press conference 2

WTCR Race of Bahrain pre-event press conference 2

10.11.2022: WTCR Race of Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit, November 10-12, 2022 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, Rounds 15 and 16 of 18 Thursday, November 10th 2022 Part 2: NathanaŽl Berthon (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport) Nicky Catsburg (B

WTCR Race of Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit,
November 10-12, 2022
WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, Rounds 15 and 16 of 18
Thursday, November 10th 2022



Part 2:

Nathanaël Berthon (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport)
Nicky Catsburg (BRC Hyundai N Racing Team)
Attila Tassi (Liqui Moly Team Engstler)





Nathanaël, you won the last round in Alsace. What have you been doing since then?




Nathanaël Berthon (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport)

It’s been a long time. I always enjoy to be in the car, to be honest. Bahrain I haven’t been to for seven years. It’s very hot in the car compared to Europe at the moment. But we enjoy it.






You and Nicky are probably the most knowledgeable around this circuit?


Nicky Catsburg (BRC Hyundai N Racing Team)


I’ve only tested here once, I never raced here.





Nathanaël Berthon (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport
)

He knows the track.




Nicky Catsburg (BRC Hyundai N Racing Team)


I know the track!


What benefit is that. You were on the podium here in 2015, which is a long time ago. What is the most challenging aspect of this circuit?




Nathanaël Berthon (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport)


Yeah, true. I was on the GP2 podium in 2015 which are good memories of course. What is challenging here is definitely the weather. The track conditions, it is super-hot. Clearly you have to manage your tyres, your brakes also. And it’s really hot in the car.

I don’t know for the others but in the Audi we don’t have so much air in the car. But these are conditions I like so I will not complain at all. You also have a lot of sand on the track. Over the weekend it’s going to be faster and faster I think, so you have to adapt your references and braking points.





We’ve also touched on the differences between Race 1 and Race 2, one being a night race.


Nathanaël Berthon (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport
)

For sure, it will be proper different. Of course you don’t have the sun that changes your vision, let’s say. But here there are plenty of lights so it is like it is daytime. But it’s pretty hot. The second race will be in the morning, but it’s already 31 degrees, I checked this morning. Different conditions bu for everybody the same so we have to adapt and we are working on it.






You were top in Free Practice 1. It doesn’t mean an awful lot, but the car feels good so far?


Nathanaël Berthon (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport)


Yeah, straight away we were fast. Actually I was not expecting that much. So it was clearly good from the beginning. I was feeling good, I had good references from scratch, so this helps. But the others will catch me I’m sure. We just work for the race, taking as much information as possible. Obviously we have not driven on this track before, so we have to take a lot of information and try to be the best in the race. This is what really counts.





This weekend is the FIA Volunteer and Officials Weekend. We couldn’t be on track without them could we?


Nathanaël Berthon (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport)


Yeah, of course. We always forget the people that are there and without them we cannot race. So we have to offer a big thank you to all the people who make it possible.





Nicky, welcome back. Have you been deployed by Hyundai to maximise Mikel’s situation? Will you be throwing out bananas around the track?



Nicky Catsburg (BRC Hyundai N Racing Team)


Yeah, I have the bananas with me and little red things that I can shoot… No, they definitely asked me to help and support him, so I will try to do whatever I can to maximise his result and I’m looking forward to that. It’s super-nice for him to be able to fight for a title and to win the championship. I will do whatever I can to support, but to be honest I don’t think he needs my help.





Talk to us about your knowledge of Bahrain and this circuit.



Nicky Catsburg (BRC Hyundai N Racing Team)


I tested here before which was in 2017, but I do remember the degradation here and the grip level is very bad. It’s a very difficult track to maintain your tyre life and today in FP1 was honestly a disaster. It was really tough to put any lap times after the first one.

So it wasn’t an easy session for me at all because I need time to get back into the rhythm of this car and I could have boxed after the first lap because lap time-wise I wasn’t going anywhere and the focus was on the races, trying to improve the car. For me the key point on this track is definitely grip level.




What about overtaking opportunities?



Nicky Catsburg (BRC Hyundai N Racing Team
)

Oh there are plenty of overtaking opportunities. You have a couple of long straights into big braking zones so I expect lots of overtaking.





You will also be in Jeddah. How well do you know that track?


Nicky Catsburg (BRC Hyundai N Racing Team)


I definitely do not know that track and I have never been to the country as well. So I’m looking forward to that. I think it will be a pretty unique track. We have seen it in F1, a different layout but I think it will be a pretty awesome track and it’s a cool challenge for all of us to learn this track. Nobody has any reference and I always like those situations.





Attila, did you have a good break?


Attila Tassi (Liqui Moly Team Engstler)


Yeah, but honestly after two weeks I was really looking forward to getting back in the car and it was already too much time away. I was really counting down the days to being here in Bahrain. I have some reference from 2017, it was a long time ago but still probably a bit more experience than some of the drivers.

As Nicky said, I remember in the races it was really tough to maintain the grip and the tyre life, so it will be a big challenge for everybody with these conditions. I’m really looking forward and I’m really happy to be back.





You came in all guns blazing but the chips haven’t fallen your way. Have you managed to maintain your mental strength?



Attila Tassi (Liqui Moly Team Engstler)



I feel like I have managed to maintain it. This season for me was quite a rollercoaster, sometimes down, sometimes up. Unfortunately we started with a negative experience so obviously not a good start. But definitely what happened in the past we leave in the past and we focus on the future, so this is my mentality. Now we are here and I try to focus on extracting the maximum from myself and the car and being the best we can.




The key thing was to shrug off difficult weekends, right?



Attila Tassi (Liqui Moly Team Engstler)


Yeah, from my point of view I just want to focus on my performance and do the maximum with my engineer, with the team and work on the car to be as perfect as much as possible to bring on the fight with the others. I’m really looking forward to this.







Richard Rodgers, photos WTCR

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/wtcr-race-bahrain-pre-event-press-conference2---245021.html

10.11.2022 / MaP

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