|In what was a true team performance, Catsburg’s teammate Thed Bjork claimed the FIA WTCC Drivers World Title with a well-executed race weekend that saw the season-long battle with Honda decided in the Swedish team’s favour.|
Driving alongside the now World Champion Bjork and four-time WTCC World Champion Yvan Muller, who was drafted in for a one-off race to bolster the drive for the two titles, Catsburg was clinical in his performance from qualifying through the weekend’s two races to deliver the points needed to claim the crown. In doing this he supported Bjork’s title bid with second in qualifying and eighth in the opening race, holding title rivals Norbert Michelisz and Esteban Guerrieri at bay allowing Bjork to extend his championship lead.
The final race saw Catsburg playing rear-gunner to Bjork, ceding the third position to him and on the opening lap and retaking the last podium spot to secure fifth in the drivers’ championship
2017 marked Catsburg’s second full season in the FIA WTCC and his first with the Polestar Cyan Racing team. The campaign saw him lead the championship at one stage after a string of good results and a stunning win on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. However, a run of bad luck, particularly in the Race of Argentina, where possible double victory slipped away with a pair of punctures, saw his individual title challenge fade.
“It’s been a great year,” said Catsburg, “This team has worked tirelessly and meticulously to ensure that nothing was left to chance and I’m so happy that we delivered both titles. Obviously, I would have loved to win the World Championship myself, and at one point it looked like it could have been possible, but if it couldn’t be me I’m delighted it was Thed.
“This weekend I had a very fast car, but had to use it in a different way as part of a team to ensure we got the Manufacturers title rather than battling for victory. I felt the win was possible but it was all part of the bigger picture. The team and I have every reason to be very proud of what we have achieved.
“The only slight taint on the weekend was that my season long teammate Nestor (Girolami) couldn’t be here to celebrate with us. Yvan did a great job as he has done in his non-driving role with the team all year, but it would have been nice for ‘Bebu’ to have joined in celebrating the title he contributed so much to winning in the nine races before Qatar.”
With the end of the TC1 regulations and the FIA WTCC looking at a new direction for an interim period with the likely adoption of the TCR regulations the future in the Championship for Nicky is uncertain, at least in the short term.
“I have loved racing in the WTCC,” Catsburg explained. “When I joined the championship part way through 2015 with Lada I was skeptical to be honest but I have come to realise the quality of the championship and drivers - the professionalism of the team’s way exceeded my expectations and I have loved every minute of it.
“For now, I have other very exciting projects to turn my attention to but I hope to be back in WTCC at some stage soon.”
News on Nicky's exciting plans for the 2018 racing season and beyond will be announced in the coming weeks.