Hyundai’s John Filippi and Romeo Ferraris’ Rodrigo Baptista claimed their first battle wins in the electric PURE ETCR series at Aragón on Friday, whilst CUPRA’s mikel Azcona extended his series lead with a win of his own.
Friday’s on-track action saw the 12 drivers take to the National Circuit of Motorland Aragón for two five-lap battles each, with the drivers once again split into two groups for the weekend.
Thursday evening saw the 12 drivers randomly drawn into two groups of six, as PURE ETCR currently only has six cars entered, which are shared between two drivers over the course of a weekend.
Hyundai Motorsport came out on top, with its four drivers all securing the inside line for their battles on Friday.
Pool A saw Tom Chilton, Rodrigo Baptista, Jordi Gené, Augusto Farfus, Stefano Coletti and Mikel Azcona drawn to compete against each other.
Pool B thus consisted of Jean-Karl Vernay, Mattias Ekström, Dániel Nagy, John Filippi, Luca Filippi and Oliver Webb.
The draw thus saw exactly the same drivers split into Pool A / B as at the opening event in Vallelunga, despite the incredibly slim chances of such a circumstance occurring.
Round 1 – Battle 1/2
The first Pool A battle saw Chilton’s Hyundai line-up on the inside, with the Alfa Romeo of Baptista in the centre and the CUPRA of Gené on the outside line.
When the lights went out Baptista shot into the lead, as Chilton dropped to last with a poor start and plenty of wheelspin.
However, the Brit immediately began to use his power-up, and by the hairpin, Turn 11, was fighting for the lead, easing Baptista onto the kerbs but not quite able to re-take the lead.
Heading onto lap three the trio were all nose-to-tail, with third-placed Gené having saved the most of his power-ups at this stage.
Chilton had another go at Baptista for the lead at the hairpin on lap three, but overcooked his braking and couldn’t make the pass stick.
As the leading duo scrapped, Gené was then able to blast around the outside heading onto lap four to take the lead, with Chilton eventually passing Baptista and staying second.
Chilton then pressured Gené into a mistake at the hairpin, getting into the lead despite running out of power-up. The two then clattered into each other on the start straight going onto the last lap as Gené took the lead with the last of his power-up.
But by this stage Baptista had the most power-up left and he took Chilton for second heading into the hairpin before pipping Gené on the line to claim the battle win.
The second battle saw Farfus on the inside, Coletti in the centre and Azcona on the outside line for the start.
Farfus took the lead at the start, closely followed by Azcona as a more distant Colleti went into the first sequence of turns in third.
In a bizarre move, all three drivers then went straight on where they should have gone left, and had to weave through a set of cones after using the incorrect grand prix section of circuit.
The trio ran in those positions for the first three laps, before Azcona began to use more of his power ups heading onto lap four and closed in on Farfus.
Ending lap four, Azcona took the lead after Farfus had gone deep at the hairpin, and the Spaniard held the lead for the final lap to claim the win for CUPRA, as Farfus’ Hyundai came second and Coletti’s Alfa Romeo a distant third, after the Italian made a few mistakes early in the battle.
The first battle put Vernay on the inside, Ekström in the centre and Nagy on the outside, with the battle consequently seeing no Alfa Romeo drivers.
Both CUPRA drivers shot out of the gates to lead with Nagy in front, as Vernay made a poor getaway and fell to third.
Ekström claimed the lead into the hairpin on lap two, leaving the Hungarian to defend from Vernay’s Hyundai heading into lap three.
A mistake from Nagy at Turn 3 on lap three gave Vernay second, and the Frenchman hunted down Ekström over the next lap and a half but ultimately the Swede had just enough in hand to claim the win as Vernay finished second and Nagy a distant third.
John Filippi started the second battle from the inside, with Luca Filippi in the centre and Webb on the outside line.
Once again, the driver on the inside in the Hyundai dropped to last, with Luca Filippi seizing the lead.
Webb used his power-up to take the lead from team-mate Filippi into the hairpin on lap two, before John Filippi, who had not touched his power-up yet, turned up the power onto lap three to snatch second from Luca Filippi.
John Filippi took the lead from Webb into the hairpin on lap three, before Luca Filippi then passed Webb for second at the hairpin, as the Alfa Romeos held each other up slightly.
That meant Frenchman Filippi could just hold on to claim the win, despite a last-lap lockup which very nearly gave Italian Filippi the win, whilst Webb was close behind in third.
Round 2 – Head-to-head battles
Saturday will see the ETCR cars return to the track for the Round 2 head-to-head battles, which pitch the winners of the two battles in each Pool against each other, with second facing second and third facing third.
Later in the day the cars will hit the track once again to set the lap times which will decide the grid for Sunday’s two SuperFinals, where six cars race on track at the same time for the first time in the weekend.