Double FIA ETRC champion Norbert Kiss took time out from his busy schedule, as he finalises plans for the 2016 campaign, to look forward to the coming season.
What have you been working on over the long, cold winter, Norbert?
“It has been a long winter for sure. We are getting things together for this year and we have been working on our program since we came back from the last race of 2015 at Le Mans.
“We have been putting together the budget and all the plans to try to defend the title and secure a third one. We are working hard and of course when you have won the championship it can be a little bit easier, but still we have things to get in place and make sure we are in the best possible shape for the 2016 season.”
When you look back at 2015 how do you summarise such a great season?
“If you look at the results you have to be proud because the whole team did a great job. We have been improving every year over the past four years. 2014 was enjoyable but last season was unbelievable because there were some changes. For the first time since I competed in truck racing I had the same engine as Jochen (Hahn) for example and also Antonio (Albacete).
“You could see that the Buggyras were improving and Adam (Lacko) in particular was getting closer, so there was some good competition outside of MAN. On the technical side we were finally on the same level so we responded well and the OXXO team really made the difference.”
The Hungaroring weekend last season looked very special. What are your chief memories?
“The home race is always important and we had been looking forward to it for a very long time. There were so many people there cheering us very loudly, and all of the fans in Hungary are so enthusiastic.
“I still look back now at the film of the races and smile. It was a special weekend and because Hungary is quite a small country it makes it very special when there is sporting success. It was easily the best weekend of my racing career so I was very happy with the way things went, taking poles and winning two races.”
Who do you see as the primary challengers in 2016?
“It is really hard to say because a lot can change with things like the regulations and teams improving and developing. The experience and knowledge we have gained over the last four seasons is very valuable and we aim to build on that this year.
“Buggyra will be strong; Jochen (Hahn) and Antonio (Albacete) I am sure too, as always. Hopefully we will be in front again and it will be another close fight for the championship.”
Do you sense a new era in the FIA ETRC this season especially with new promoters?
“It is looking like a very good period for trucks is coming and I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds. ETRA (European Truck Racing Association) is planning many improvements so we will see how things develop. I think there is a lot the fans can look forward to in 2016 and beyond.”