Despite the disappointment of being tipped out of contention at the semi-final stage, David Bouet has professed himself pleased with his Euro RX3 bow last month at Nyirád, a circuit he describes as ‘the most enjoyable rallycross track I’ve ever driven’.
The Frenchman made the decision over the winter to take the next step in his burgeoning career by graduating from the domestic series – in which he wound up third in the Super1600 standings in 2022 – to the international scene in the FIA European Rallycross Championship. Right from the outset in Hungary, he was in the mix.
Sixth-quickest amongst the 13 protagonists in free practice on his first visit to the legendary ‘Red Cauldron’ – a circuit unlike any he had ever raced upon before and fast and technical in equal measure – Bouet then maintained that form in the heats. He kept more experienced rival João Ribeiro honest in the pair’s first race, before impressively holding off two more of the all-conquering Volland Racing Audis prior to taking his joker in heat three.
The Caen native’s speed and consistency were such that he was the only one of the 32 drivers competing at Nyirád – across both categories, Euro RX1 and Euro RX3 – to place inside the top six in every heat, earning him fifth spot in the intermediate classification.
From there, Bouet had his sights set on advancing to the finals, but a tag from behind into the first corner in semi-final one sent his RX Evolution Renault Clio spinning into the wall, bringing a premature end to his challenge.
Nonetheless, having comfortably exceeded expectations on his series debut, the 29-year-old is now looking forward to seeing what he can achieve over the remainder of the campaign, beginning at Montalegre in Portugal in just under three weeks’ time.
“In terms of the intensity and the rhythm, the weekend was a lot of fun,” Bouet enthused. “Nyirád is such a cool circuit, difficult to master but at the same time extremely rewarding to drive. With all its blind corners, it’s definitely not a place for the faint-hearted – you need to be confident, completely focussed and ultra-committed. I hadn’t raced anywhere like it before and I have to admit, it’s probably the most enjoyable rallycross track I’ve ever driven.
“Both physically and mentally, it was a very demanding weekend. The level in Euro RX3 is so high that you can’t afford to relax even for a moment, but for a team like ours, with zero prior experience of competing at this level, I think we can be very satisfied.
“It was a completely different proposition to the French Championship we have been used to. A lot of elements were new to us, but we embraced the challenge and everybody in the team really knuckled down to refine the set-up of the car and try to get closer to the best drivers – I feel very reassured that we have made the right choice in joining the European Championship.
“It was obviously a frustrating way to end the weekend. Contact is part-and-parcel of rallycross, but beyond missing out on a chance to be in the final, I would have liked to get a few more kilometres under my belt to evaluate the changes we had made.
“Of course part of me is disappointed by that, but what was most important was the consistent progress we made throughout the weekend. We had no idea going to Hungary where we would stack up, but I think we can take a lot of encouragement and pride from our performance – and that’s very promising looking to the rest of the season.”