Mikel Azcona was crowned ‘King of the Weekend’ in the penultimate round of the all-electric PURE ETCR series at the Hungaroring, after the CUPRA driver was undefeated in all on-track sessions.
Sunday’s track action saw two time trial sessions for Pool A and B to determine the starting grids for the two six-car SuperFinal races.
It was again Mattias Ekström who topped his respective time trial, the CUPRA driver posting a lap time of 2 minutes 26.341 seconds to edge out Romeo Ferraris’ Philipp Eng and bag the top starting spot for the first of the day’s SuperFinals.
Luigi Ferrara made it a strong day for the Alfa Romeos to qualify in third, ahead of the Hyundais of Augusto Farfus and John Filippi and the final CUPRA of Jordi Gené.
Before the final had even started there were dramas, as Farfus was not able to join the six-car grid due to a technical issue which left his Veloster N ETCR stranded in the pitlane.
At the start, Eng leapt into the lead ahead of Ekström, whilst Gené got past Filippi for fourth at the first corner.
With Eng defending hard from Ekström on the first run down to Turn 1, Ferrara looked like he could pass both around the outside, but he couldn’t quite carry the move and remained third as the leading four battled very closely.
The leading two consolidated their places over the rest of the first lap, whilst going onto lap two Gené passed Ferrara for third at Turn 1.
In the end Ekström didn’t quite have enough to challenge Eng for the win, giving the Austrian his second SuperFinal win in as many meetings ahead of the Swede.
Gené claimed third, whilst Ferrara was fourth, despite losing the place to Filippi at Turn 1 on the final lap – the Italian had more power-up than his Corsican rival and used it well to re-take the position on the drag to the finish line.
CUPRA’s Mikel Azcona posted the fastest time in the Pool B time trial, a huge 1.6 seconds faster than Hyundai’s Jean-Karl Vernay.
Dániel Nagy qualified his CUPRA in third for the final part of his home event, ahead of the Hyundai of Tom Chilton, whilst Romeo Ferraris Alfa Romeo duo Luca Filippi and Rodrigo Baptista were fifth and sixth, over five and ten seconds off the pace after spins at Turn 4 and Turn 1 respectively.
When the lights went out the biggest mover was Filippi, who shot up to third, whilst Azcona held first ahead of Vernay.
Vernay then made contact with Azcona at the second turn, with Filippi going around the outside of the final corner of the lap to almost take the lead.
Heading onto the first lap proper Azcona came back at Vernay, the CUPRA driver seizing the lead back at Turn 1, although the pair continued to bang wheels through Turn 2.
The leading duo settled into a rhythm over the first two laps, but further back intense battles were building between Filippi and Nagy and Chilton and Baptista – the latter two making contact at Turn 2 on the second tour.
There was much more significant contact between Nagy and Filippi going into Turn 1 on lap three, with the Hungarian punting the Italian under braking.
Remarkably both drivers continued, Nagy in third and Filippi down to sixth but with his team-mate despite completing a full spin on the start straight and banging into the barriers.
Baptista then blasted past Chilton four fourth heading onto the penultimate lap, the Hyundai driver having exhausted his power-up.
Filippi then retired from the race when his left-rear tyre gave way on the approach to Turn 1 a lap after the earlier contact from Nagy.
In the end, no one had an answer for Azcona, who won by over five seconds from Vernay, with Nagy claiming third despite heavy front-end damage to his CUPRA.
Baptista was fourth, pulling away from Chilton by over six seconds in the final laps, with the Brit being the last classified finisher in fifth.
King of the Weekend
Azcona was crowned ‘King of the Weekend’ after his SuperFinal win, the Spaniard holding 77 points from the weekend’s activities after an undefeated run. Eng was second with 72 points, whilst Ekström held third with 63 points.
The results mean that in the overall championship it is Ekström who retains the series lead with 273 points, ahead of Vernay (244), Azcona (238), Gené (212) and Baptista (197). No other driver is in contention for the title heading to the final round at Pau-Arnos in October.