Thu 28 Sep 2023

Benyó eyeing ‘long-term project’ after ‘memorable’ Euro RX1 campaign

Off the back of a promising first season, Máté Benyó is evaluating ‘a long-term project’ in Euro RX1, warning his rivals that he will come back ‘more confident, more experienced and faster’ in 2024...

Off the back of a promising first season in Euro RX1 in 2023, Máté Benyó is now evaluating ‘a long-term project’ in the FIA European Rallycross Championship, warning his rivals that he will come back ‘more confident, more experienced and faster’ in 2024.

Much like countryman Balázs Körmöczi in Euro RX3, Benyó arrived on the international scene with a stellar performance first time out at Nyirád back in April, placing a superb third in the ranking and advancing to the final in the high-calibre field, where he finished fifth in a race featuring three former European champions.

Proving that he was no one-hit wonder, the Hungarian then secured fourth position in the intermediate classification in both Portugal and Norway, tallying no fewer than four second-fastest times from the opening 12 heats of the campaign.

A slow start in the semi-final and subsequent mistake in the joker cost him a spot in the final at Montalegre, and he came off worse in a clash with Jānis Baumanis in Hell – but his raw speed could not be denied.

“Nyirád was my first-ever European Championship event and it went like a dream,” Benyó recollected. “My opponents were very fast and experienced, so to be able to show my ability in front of a national audience with such good results was unforgettable.

“I also had very good pace in Portugal and Norway, and I believed I had every chance to reach the final again. I started from the front row in the semi-final in Hell, but unfortunately I had a collision with Jānis in Turn Two, which put me out of the race. I was so disappointed about that, because I felt it could have been another big moment for us.”

The remainder of the campaign would prove to be more difficult. A windscreen wiper malfunction at Höljes and turbo failure at Mettet dashed further opportunities to progress to the final, while the 22-year-old described the Estering as ‘the lowest point’ from a personal performance perspective. Benyó is confident, however, that the adversity and challenges he faced along the way will stand him in much stronger stead going forward.

“It was the most memorable season of my career so far – I gained more experience at this level in one year than in the national championship in three or four years,” mused the Korda Racing ace, who was recently crowned Hungarian Supercar Champion.

“The second half was very difficult for us – we had some horribly unlucky situations and I also made a few more mistakes than I should have done. I hoped to reach the final more often. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that, which wasn’t always due to my speed, but I was pleased to be able to pick up the pace so quickly on unknown tracks.

“New competitors only get two free practice runs – about eight kilometres – to establish a good set-up and strong performance, so I needed to adapt very fast, but this is a characteristic of rallycross and everyone was a rookie once.

“There were many situations that I encountered for the first time at this level, and I often felt I needed more experience to achieve better results. I already consider myself a more mature and experienced driver than at the beginning of the season, so if I compete again next year, I’ll be in a much better position from that point-of-view.

“I want to say thank you to Korda Racing, the Hungarian Motorsport Academy and everyone else who made it possible for me to compete at this level. We are thinking about a long-term project with the team because we believe we can achieve big results. We have already started working to put together the background for next year, when I will be more confident, more experienced – and even faster.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM