I’m having tons of fun this year, says championship contender Nik Štefančič

I’m having tons of fun this year, says championship contender Nik Štefančič

The first half of the Clio Cup season witnessed a number of very competitive and dramatic races with fights for the win until the finish flag. One of the main characters in this year’s race for the title is Nik Štefančič, who achieved two wins at Slovakia Ring and is only nine points behind the leader.

This year’s Clio Cup has a large starting field, is very competitive, and you are sitting second in the championship, only nine points from first place. How are you enjoying the season so far?
Oh, I’m having tons of fun this year! It’s true that more competitors equal more battles, but it’s not just that. The fact that we’re so closely matched makes it even more entertaining for the spectators. It sure is a surprise to still be in the title fight after half of the season, even being in 2nd.

You won two races in Slovakia. Can you take us through your thrilling win at the Slovakia Ring, where you won by just 0.007 seconds?
The whole weekend, we knew we had the pace to be fighting at the front. After rather disappointing races at the Red Bull Ring, we decided to make some important setup changes to make the car a bit more aggressive and less stressful on the front tires. This proved to be crucial in allowing me to push at 110% throughout the whole race distance. The move at the end of race 2 in the final corner was just me thinking about the championship, that it’s better for me to get 7 points closer to David than letting him extend his lead.

How do you manage the intense competition with drivers? There are plenty of racers who are capable of winning the race.
I take a much calmer approach to fighting others. Of course, you want to get past your competitors as quickly as possible, but it’s better to take your time and capitalize on any mistake than to go headfirst into the wall.

You always finished in the TOP 5 this season. Can you share some insights into your strategy for maintaining consistency across different tracks?
I touched upon this at the beginning of the season. You don’t need to be too aggressive at the start of the race and get into too many fights. It’s important to take care of the car, the tires, and especially your mind. In these cup races, pretty much everything is decided on the final lap. I think I learned that from the Twingos.

What has been the most significant lesson you’ve learned this season?
Don’t be afraid to attack! Last year was really just about learning. This year, we stepped up our game, and it’s beginning to show.