The Zengo Dension Team has confirmed that it will continue in the World Touring Car Championship in 2011 with driver Norbert Michelisz, making the switch from SEAT to BMW for their second season in the series.
Zengo and Michelisz stepped up to the WTCC in 2010 after tasting success in the SEAT Leon Eurocup support series. The Hungarian won the inaugural WTCC Rookie Challenge, also taking a first overall victory at the final race at Macau.
In 2011 Michelisz will race a BMW 320 TC entered in partnership with BMW Hungary. The car will be prepared by Team RBM, who won three straight world titles with Andy Priaulx. In order to gain more experience with the car prior to racing it, the team will skip the season opener in Curitiba. They will instead start their season at the second round at Zolder on 24th April.
Michelisz's new car was previously driven by Augusto Farfus for Team RBM. The Belgian crew will perform the modifications that are required by the 2011 technical regulations and then provide technical support to the Hungarian team. The main change is the introduction of the 1.6 litre turbocharged engine that has been developed by BMW Motorsport.
The move brings to an end a three-year association between Zengo and SEAT Sport which saw the team take back-to-back titles in the SEAT Leon Eurocup with Michelisz in 2009 and Gabor Weber in 2010, as well as the team's graduation to the WTCC.
Team principal Zoltan Zengo is thankful for having the opportunity to switch to the German marque. “I'm very happy that we managed to find each other with BMW Hungary,” he said. “Henning Putzke, BMW Hungary's Managing Director has great confidence in us, I'm thankful for his support. In total only six or seven cars of this model will be ready for the start of the season and it is a huge success that such a small Hungarian team will have one of them. We made an enormous step towards realizing our ultimate aims. We have got a competitive car and I expect my team to be among the frontrunners. However, the circumstances are forcing us to miss the first race as we can't risk racing with a totally unknown car that arrived in the last minute before the race.”
Michelisz is also pleased to get the chance to race a BMW. “It is a dream coming true and I'm very happy to race a BMW 320 TC this season,” he declared. “It makes me proud that BMW Motorsport is paying emphasized attention for me and my team. I will need to adjust my mind and driving style for the rear-wheel drive but I can't wait to race again. We have a lot work to do in order to get to know the car, but I'm confident that we will be able to make a big step forward especially in case we will be testing the car ahead the first race. If the circumstances allow me, I will try to take on the frontrunners. Hopefully I will bring happiness for my fans.”
Henning Putzke, Managing Director of BMW Hungary, is pleased to support Michelisz's efforts. “We are happy to support the team from the background with our contacts and know-how, also in logistics and administrative issues,” he said. “Norbert Michelisz is a great talent and we hope to see him more often on the podium in 2011 so that the world can recognize the success of Hungarian motorsport. The support of Norbert is an extension of the motorsport engagement of BMW Group Hungary next to endurance racing with BMW Team Hungary.”
For the third consecutive year Michelisz will also enjoy the support of title sponsor Dension Audio Systems, a Hungarian manufacturer of car entertainment systems. Dension CEO Attila Szijj commented: “Dension is proud to have had the opportunity to support Norbert Michelisz for the third year in a row. He and his team have proved that they are up to the challenge of racing at the international level and they are capable of winning. Dension is racing for its customers in more than 40 countries worldwide. We are introducing our new products on a regular basis to make the use of mobile phones and entertainment devices safer and uninterrupted for the drivers. We celebrate our participation in the 2011 FIA WTCC with the release of two new products that will take the connection between the iPhone and the car to a whole new level.”