ETCR: Ekström leads CUPRA coup in Pau


CUPRA EKS driver Mattias Ekström got his FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup campaign off to a fantastic start at the Infinite Reality Race FR on the Circuit de Pau Ville as CUPRA EKS ruled the roost at the season-opener by taking the top three positions after two thrilling DHL Super Finals

The sun shined down on Pau as Ekström was crowned King of the Weekend after a near-flawless display from the winner of the FIA ETCR’s predecessor PURE ETCR. Indeed, Ekström’s only faux pas over the weekend was for reversing in the pit lane for which he coped a fine from the Stewards.

The Swede powered through Saturday’s Qualifying sessions with the top time in both Q1 and Q2 of his Pool FURIOUS then won his Quarter Final with ease as his rivals clashed. Sunday dawned cool and humid and despite both earlier Pool FAST pole-sitters in the Semi Finals losing their advantage off the line, Ekström found no issue from his pole and cruised to a win whilst the action took place behind him between Azcona and Spengler.

Second in the standings over the weekend was Ekström’s CUPRA EKS team-mate Adrien Tambay in Pool FAST, who impressed all weekend with his approach and aptitude at a track he loves. Tambay was perfection off the line in his morning Semi Final and won his DHL Super Final in peerless fashion as behind him things didn’t go quite so well as Battles ensued.

Third in the standings was Tom Blomqvist who impressed all weekend but was a victim to Tambay off the line from his morning Semi Final pole and finished behind Tambay in the Super Final, withstanding constant pressure from Maxime Martin.

The Pau Motors Festival of which Infinite Reality Race FR was an element saw over 100,000 people visit the charismatic city of Pau on the northern edge of the Pyrénées in south-west France. The Pau Motors Festival highlighted was a revival of and highlighted new technologies most notably represented by the inaugural FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup event.

Whilst the sun certainly shone for three-quarters of the CUPRA EKS squad it wasn’t quite so rosy elsewhere. The highest-placed non-CUPRA EKS driver was Hyundai Motorsport N’s Mikel Azcona who tried his hardest to take the fight to former team-mate Ekström in the final and leaves Pau seven points adrift of Blomqvist.

Bruno Spengler was the top Romero Ferraris driver, enjoying great Battles and winning his Semi Final heat. His team-mate Maxime Martin also adapted well to the series, also on his debut.

Hyundai Motosport N’s Jean-Karl Vernay wasn’t able to have home glory thanks to his Saturday disqualification from his Quarter Final due to an incorrect power setting, but was to be involved in the biggest and most controversial incident of the weekend when he clashed with Romeo Ferraris’ Luca Filippi in an incident which retired the Giulia from the rest of the day, denying Giovanni Venturini the opportunity to compete in his Super Final.

The incident was adjudged to require no further action from the Stewards despite the fury expressed by the Romeo Ferraris squad.

Elsewhere, Vernay’s team-mate Norbert Michelisz had to start his Super Final from the pit lane due to a technical woe. Jordi Gené didn’t enjoy the end to the weekend he would have wanted in terms of finishing position and Kevin Ceccon was happy with his season start.

FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup action resumes in two weeks with Race TR at Istanbul Park on May 20-22.



Mattias Ekström



Adrien Tambay 



Tom Blomqvist



Mikel Azcona



Bruno Spengler



Maxim Martin



Jean-Karl Vernay



Norbert Michelisz 



Jordi Gené



Kevin Ceccon



Giovanni Venturini



Luca Filippi