|Mikel Azcona, center, who won the driver category in WTCR 2022 season, answers questions from the press at the Hyundai Motor headquarters in Seoul on Feb. 1. Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group|
By Kim Hyun-bin
Gabriele Tarquini, a legendary driver and the 2018 World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) champion, has praised Hyundai Motor's N model claiming it helped the team to win the championship double at the WTCR 2022.
"You have to have a good base to make a winning car," Tarquini said. "If you look at the i30 N or the Elantra N, they are very fast and have great technology. To win a title, you need a good car, good drivers, and a combination of factors."
He visited the Hyundai Motor Group headquarters in Seoul, Wednesday, along with other winners, to attend an event organized by Hyundai Motor to celebrate the achievement of the 2022 WTCR championship double.
Tarquini was a race car driver up until his 60s and has been with Hyundai Motor since 2017. He won the 2018 WTCR title. After retiring as a driver in 2021, he now serves as team manager. The secret to winning the competition, he says, was the Hyundai Motor vehicles' outstanding performance.
Mikel Azcona, the driver category winner in 2022, won the overall championship with the Elantra N TCR. In the team category, the overall championship was won by the BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse team, thanks to Mikel Azcona and Norbert Michelisz.
"Last year was my first season with Hyundai Motorsport, and I was very happy and honored to be with Tarquini," Azcona said.
"Mikel was actually my opponent, and it was so good when I was able to sign him. It was rewarding to work as a team manager and technical advisor," Tarquini said looking back on last season. "I'm still young as a team manager, so I think I can do another three or four years. And my goal is to work with the Hyundai team in the future."
|Hyundai Motor Avante N, left, and Elantra N TCR / Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group|
WTCR is a competition in which professional racing teams purchase racing cars from manufacturers to compete. Hyundai Motor's Motorsport rose to the top at the 2022 WTCR competition by winning the driver and team champion titles. Til Battenberg, head of Hyundai Motor N Brand Management Motorsport Division, explained that Hyundai's full support was behind these achievements.
"I felt that the motorsports division was receiving a lot of support during the past six years of working at Hyundai Motor. We gathered like this today to commemorate winning the 2022 WTCR Cup Double Championship title," Battenberg said.
Battenberg emphasized that Hyundai Motor will continue to strive, in the internal combustion engine category and also in the electric racing sector.
"N brand will not stop taking on challenges with ICE (internal combustion engines) and prepare for electrification to become a sustainable brand," he added.