Teenager Nagy gets full season to further underline potential
Hungarian partners Aurélien Panis in refreshed privateer line-up
Zengő Motorsport’s policy of supporting young drivers with big potential has been underlined with the re-signing of Dániel Nagy for its long-term FIA World Touring Car Championship campaign.
Nagy, 18, was recruited for Zengő’s 2016 programme as the Hungarian team sought a long-term replacement for Norbert Michelisz, the driver it had nurtured from online gamer to factory Honda driver as a double WTCC Trophy champion.
After making his long-awaited debut at WTCC Race of Portugal in late June, Nagy impressed with his mature approach and natural speed, which improved with every race he contested. He will now undertake a full season in a previous-specification Honda Civic WTCC alongside new team-mate Aurélien Panis from France.
“It felt amazing when I heard the decision,” said Nagy, who was chosen ahead of compatriot Ferenc Ficza for the drive. “I started my preparations early for this year hoping I would be the second driver. And when I finally got the call that I would be driving for the full season I was so pleased. I prepared well for every weekend last season, just like my team-mate Ferenc did, but maybe the key was that I could get up to his speed a bit faster. And Zoltán [Zengő] said he wanted to give me a bit more of a chance to show my real skills this year.”
François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, the WTCC promoter, welcomed Zengő Motorsport’s confirmation that Nagy would be its second driver for 2017. “Zengő has done so much to help young, talented drivers to achieve their dream of racing win the World Touring Car Championship and it’s full credit to Zengő that it remains committed to this policy. In Dániel and his new rookie team-mate Aurélien Panis, Zengő has a really exciting line-up.”
Nagy, whose older brother Viktor has represented Hungary in handball in the Olympic Games, will be a contender for WTCC Trophy honours in 2017. “My target is to score my first world championship points and to do as many top 10 finishes as I can. We are competing with the older-specification Honda so it’s going to be a bit hard for me but we have very good mechanics, very good engineers, very good equipment and the very, very important thing is the Zengő Motorsport guys are believing in me and believing in this project. I believe we can continue the progress we had last year and score some top 10 finishes. And maybe the rain comes and something happens with the other guys we can score some bigger results.”
The 2017 WTCC season begins in Marrakech, Morocco, from 7-9 April. Nagy and Zengő’s home event, WTCC Race of Hungary, takes place from 12-14 May.
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