Conventional wisdom says if you haven’t got an Audi A1 in Euro RX3, you haven’t really got a chance. But conventional wisdom didn’t account for Jan Černý in Hungary and Germany last year. It didn’t account for Marius Solberg Hansen at Höljes or Jens Hvaal at the Nürburgring. And it didn’t account for Balázs Körmöczi on home soil at Nyirád last month (29-30 April).
From a rallycross family – with his two brothers similarly competing in the dual-surface discipline – Körmöczi made the transition from circuit racing in 2019 and immediately impressed. In both 2020 and 2021, the Hungarian lifted the laurels in the Super1600 category on the domestic scene, adding the Austrian and FIA Central European Zone (CEZ) crowns to his burgeoning CV in the latter of those campaigns.
Having sat out last season, Körmöczi made his FIA European Rallycross Championship debut in the 2023 curtain-raiser at Nyirád behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Polo driven by Dominik Senegacnik in the 2022 event, upgraded by Szada Ring Racing KFT.
The 20-year-old was fast and feisty from the outset, flinging his brightly-liveried Polo around the ‘Red Cauldron’ in spectacular fashion, much to the appreciation of the capacity crowd. After getting the better of Espen Isaksætre in heat one, he then set fastest lap in his heat two race as he engaged in an entertaining duel with Černý – a driver who had come within a couple of corners of triumphing at Nyirád last year.
Körmöczi survived a late attack from Nils Volland that tipped him into a half-spin in heat three to take the chequered flag first and was cruising towards a session win in heat four when a small mistake in the joker saw him run wide and brush the tyre wall, restricting him to the fifth-fastest time.
From fourth on the grid for the first of the semi-finals, the home hero deployed an early strategy to get out of the traffic, with his eye-catching turn-of-speed enabling him to undercut both Isaksætre and Černý to secure a front row starting spot for the all-important final.
After being pushed wide through Turn One, he went on to give chase to Volland Racing duo Damian Litwinowicz and Isaksætre, earning himself a hugely popular podium finish – and the Cooper Tires ‘Racer of the Weekend’ accolade for Euro RX3.
Buoyed by that result, the Budapest native is now excited for the remainder of the campaign, as he bids to replicate his Nyirád form at five circuits of which he has no previous knowledge.
“Everybody in Hungary was willing me to win, so there was a lot of pressure, and while we didn’t manage to get the victory, hopefully we still made them proud,” he reflected.
“The beginning of the weekend was not the best, but I think we ended it in the position we deserved. The semi-final in particular was awesome. The start obviously didn’t work out for us, but the early joker strategy was the right move and we were really quick afterwards to make up the time – the Volland cars are very fast, but we proved we can be fast, too.
“All the tracks from now on will be new to me and that will be a big challenge, but we are here to learn and do our best and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”