His results in the WTCC have eclipsed Zsolt Baumgartner’s short flourish in Formula One in 2003 and 2004.
At the age of 29 and with no background in karting or single seaters, Michelisz has quickly become one of the top drivers in WTCC. After two occasional appearances in 2008 and 2009, he faced his first full season in 2010 and claimed his first victory at Macau.
Three podium results – including victory in his home race at Budapest – one pole position and the sixth place in the Drivers’ Championship have secured his status as a real talent.
You swapped cars, from BMW to Honda, what are your goals for the season?
I didn’t fix any for the first half of the season. We received our car only at the eve of the first event in Monza, so we are still in the apprenticeship period. I don’t know yet how much it will take to me to get adapted to the Civic 100 per cent.
And yet after Honda’s 1-2-3 at the Slovakia Ring and your third place behind Tarquini and Monteiro, you may look at the Hungaroring races with a lot of confidence...
It was a very nice feeling to score a podium last week. From now on, maybe a new season has started for us and now we have a really good base for our home races.
For the first time in WTCC you are closely supported by a manufacturer’s technical department. How much this has changed your's and the team’s approach and way of working?
I think it's a very good opportunity for me to learn from drivers like Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro. And also for the Zengo Motorsport to learn from an experienced engineering outfit like JAS Motorsport. We definitely had to change our approach, because we need to adapt to a lot of things, and still, we are in a period of learning about the car, about to improve ourselves and become more professional.
Budapest is a special place for you: your home race, a lot of people is coming just to see you. It’s a lot of pressure and yet you managed to win last year’s second race. Do you like to race under such pressure?
The first year WTCC raced at the Hungaroring in 2011 was really difficult for me, it was the first time I realised that I have so many fans. I was not prepared to endure so much pressure. In 2012 it was easier, because I had time to prepare myself for the challenge and the extra pressure. All the support and love from the fans helped me a lot last year, and I believe that gave the boost I needed to win the race.
- Sports & Recreation