Nykjær: ”The other Seat guys know me now”
Michel Nykjær was competitive, when this year’s FIA World Touring Car Championship began on Sunday evening. At the Curitiba circuit in southern Brazil he claimed eighth place overall and finished as runner-up among the privateers, but unfortunately the Dane had to retire from the second race following an incident with a rival. But until that happened he proved to be fully competitive with the other Seat drivers that include the two former Grand Prix drivers, Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini.
”I do think that the other Seat guys know me now after this weekend,” Michel Nykjær says. During qualifying on Saturday he managed to post the fastest lap time of all the Seat drivers, while he was lapping within a few tenths of a lap after the former World Champion Gabriele Tarquini during the first race.
”The Seat guys were somewhat surprised after qualifying and my performance did not go unnoticed, when I finished the first race just on the rear bumper of Tarquini,” the driver from Pole Position Denmark says.
Like the similarly equipped drivers Michel Nykjær had to realize that Seat’s old-spec engine is down on horsepower in comparison to the new engines that the rival manufacturers have started to use in this weekend.
”The new engines are much faster, and I really don’t believe that they have the pedal fully to the floor yet,” Michel Nykjær says. “We will be getting problems with them in the coming races, but luckily we can run in the top 10. But until we will be getting our new engine later in the season, we are facing an uphill battle.”
During both races the former double Danish champion was overtaken one by one by rivals, who could use their power advantage to sail past him. One of those overtaking him was countryman Kristian Poulsen and that episode resulted in Michel Nykjær retiring from the race.
“I should just have let Kristian pass me, but he carries too much speed into the corner and runs wide,” Michel Nykjær explains. “I decide to pass him and perhaps put too much pressure on him, but he closes the door and we tangle.”
The next round of FIA’s World Touring Car Championship will be run during the Easter weekend at Zolder i Belgium.