SEAT drivers dominated rookie challenge
Michelisz, Nykjaer, Barth
The new Rookie Challenge offered some exciting fights among emerging young drivers, which is quite remarkable in Touring Car racing, where most of the top-drivers are over 35.
Norbert Michelisz (26), Michel Nykjær (31) and Fredy Barth (31) dominated most of the races at the wheel of their SEAT León TDI cars. Not only were they capable of restricting the title fight among them, but they also put in some impressive performances that resulted in briliant overall results that culminated in Michelisz’s maiden victory at Macau.
The Hungarian youngster had already come close to such an achievement during the season, as he was a regular qualifier in Q2, started from the front row of the reverse grid for race two four times and led for three laps in Portugal. With a number of top-ten finishes he was also able to claim ninth place in the Drivers’ Championship, as well as clinching the Rookie title.
Nykjær a former double champion in the Danish and European touring cars showed impressive speed. He could have also won an overall race, as he was comfortably leading the pack in Monza and Okayama before retiring in the late stages (due to a puncture in Italy and a mistake in Japan). He finished runner up behind Michelisz, beating Barth by 7 points.
The latter had a dazzling start, collecting four wins in the Rookie challenge out of the first five races. However the second part of the season was not as lucky; the Swiss was often among the fastest but lacked in consistency.
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