Hungarian Krisztián Szabó claimed a career-best result at round one of the 2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.
PHOTO CREDIT: GRX-SET World RX Team
Starting his first full season with the GRX-SET World RX Team, Krisztian improved every time he went on track through the course of the event, and from the second row of the semi-final grid, he then started on the second row of the final on his way to fourth.
"To be fourth in the final is my best result in World RX so that is very good as a start to the new season, and hopefully next time I can take a step higher onto the podium," Szabó said. "I’m finding more confidence in the car all the time, I’m finding more rhythm in myself and we fine-tuned the car through the weekend. The pace in the semi-final was fast, then in the final, I missed a little, but the guys in front of me were the very fast guys in the championship, so I am pleased."
Teammate Grönholm on the other hand had a difficult weekend, despite the Finn battling hard and delivering a strong performance to make the best of a challenging situation. He carried a small technical issue from the opening practice sessions that despite all of the experience of the Gronholm RX and SET Promotion engineers, couldn’t be resolved at the circuit.
Marcus Grönholm hinted that his son suffered from anti-lag and turbo issues, which the team later refuted.
Despite that, Niclas delivered fast lap times, and managed to qualify fourth overall for the semi-finals, only for the weekend to be compounded by contact that sent him into a concrete wall at the second corner of the semi, putting him out and with damaged the car.
"It was a difficult weekend overall. I struggled since practice with finding pace in the car and driver. I think we found a bit more pace for Saturday, the car was feeling a bit more how I wanted and we were doing a bit better launches, but ultimately, we didn’t really have enough at any point in the weekend to close the gap to the top spots," Grönholm said. "It sadly ended in the semi-final with a crash into the wall. The car is in quite bad condition now, but we will fight back."
Jussi Pinomäki (team principal) has been left impressed by Krisztián Szabó's performance at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.
"Krisztian did a solid job for himself and the team this weekend. He proved that with a little more experience racing against the competition he can be right up there fighting for podiums on a regular basis, so I am pleased with his performance," he said.
Whilst his team did not achieve their desired results this weekend, the Finn admits that his team will do everything they need to, to be ready for round 2 in Holjes next month.
"As a team we have high hopes for World RX this year and with Niclas missing a bit of the pace we expected, it didn’t go to plan at all," Pinomäki said. "But, it’s not how or why you go down, it’s how you pick yourself back up again that counts and we have a great group of guys who I know will do everything we need to do in this short gap now before the next race in Sweden to make sure we are as ready as we can be."
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