CUPRA’s Jordi Gené and Mattias Ekström were the top drivers on the opening day of action for the FIA eTouring Car World Cup in Jarama, Spain, with both drivers winning their respective qualifying and Quarter Final heats.
In ‘Pool Fast’ qualifying, it was Gené who emerged as the top driver in the morning, the Spaniard lapping just under three tenths of a second faster than team-mate Adrien Tambay.
Romeo Ferraris’ Bruno Spengler was third in his Giulia ETCR, the only other driver within a second of the Spanish cars, ahead of the leading Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz – the Hungarian being over a second down.
Luca Filippi and Jean-Karl Vernay were fifth and sixth respectively, two tenths separating the pair.
Ekström topped the ‘Pool Furious’ qualifying, although his lap time was ultimately a tenth slower than Gené’s.
Again the CUPRAs dominated, with Tom Blomqvist second, four tenths behind Ekström, although Mikel Azcona put his Hyundai Veloster in third, a mere 0.019 seconds further back.
Pool Furious was slightly more competitive, with fourth-placed Maxime Martin within a second in his Giulia, and the Hyundai of Nicky Catsburg in fifth and the Giulia of Giovanni Venturini in sixth being just over a second off the pace.
Pool Fast – Combined Qualifying
|1||28||Jordi GENÉ||CUPRA EKS||CUPRA e-Racer||4||1:37.123||–|
|2||27||Adrien TAMBAY||CUPRA EKS||CUPRA e-Racer||4||1:37.395||0.272|
|3||7||Bruno SPENGLER||Romeo Ferraris||Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR||4||1:37.723||0.600|
|4||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||Hyundai Motorsport N||Hyundai Veloster N ETCR||4||1:38.373||1.250|
|5||25||Luca FILIPPI||Romeo Ferraris||Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR||4||1:38.563||1.440|
|6||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Hyundai Motorsport N||Hyundai Veloster N ETCR||4||1:38.795||1.672|
Pool Furious – Combined Qualifying
|1||1||Mattias EKSTRÖM||CUPRA EKS||CUPRA e-Racer||3||1:37.264||–|
|2||10||Tom BLOMQVIST||CUPRA EKS||CUPRA e-Racer||4||1:37.689||0.425|
|3||96||Mikel AZCONA||Hyundai Motorsport N||Hyundai Veloster N ETCR||4||1:37.708||0.444|
|4||36||Maxime MARTIN||Romeo Ferraris||Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR||4||1:38.122||0.858|
|5||88||Nicky CATSBURG||Hyundai Motorsport N||Hyundai Veloster N ETCR||5||1:38.297||1.033|
|6||21||Giovanni VENTURINI||Romeo Ferraris||Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR||5||1:38.313||1.049|
Pool Fast Quarter Finals
The first Quarter Final was won by Gené, although only after he saw off an initial startline challenge from Spengler by using his Power Up on the approach to the first corner.
Tambay then slotted into second, and thereafter the Frenchman was the closest challenger to Gené, in particular on the final lap when the duo were bumper-to-bumper, forcing Gené to defend.
In the end, though, Tambay couldn’t find a way past, giving Gené the Quarter Final win ahead of Tambay and Spengler in third.
The start of the second Quarter Final saw Michelisz assume the lead, chased initially by Filippi through the first corners.
However, as Filippi tried to get by, he ended up seemingly baulked by Michelisz, allowing Vernay into the mix, the Frenchman completing a pass into second at Turn 4.
Towards the end of the lap Filippi used more of his Power Up to reclaim second, and the Italian remained there until halfway around lap three when he spun out with a tyre issue on his car, which also caused him to not take the finish.
By this stage, Michelisz, with much more Power Up as well, was comfortably clear, allowing him to win his heat by over a second from Hyundai team-mate Vernay.
Pool Fast – Quarter Final 1
|1||28||Jordi GENÉ||CUPRA EKS||CUPRA e-Racer||4||6:55.664||1:42.314||1|
|2||27||Adrien TAMBAY||CUPRA EKS||CUPRA e-Racer||4||0.394||1:42.374||2|
|3||7||Bruno SPENGLER||Romeo Ferraris||Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR||4||1.284||1:42.681||3|
Pool Fast – Quarter Final 2
|1||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||Hyundai Motorsport N||Hyundai Veloster N ETCR||4||7:00.425||1:42.474||1|
|2||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Hyundai Motorsport N||Hyundai Veloster N ETCR||4||1.353||1:43.180||3|
|R||25||Luca FILIPPI||Romeo Ferraris||Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR||3||DNF||1:42.941||2|
Pool Furious Quarter Finals
Ekström, Blomqvist and Azcona went side-by-side into the first corner of their Quarter Final, with the Swede muscling into the lead as Azcona dropped to third on the outside line of the first corner.
Azcona tried to take second from Blomqvist at Turn 14 on the second lap but went wide into a slide, but the Hyundai driver then used his Power Up to quickly close in on the CUPRA driver and immediately launched another attack into the final corner, barging through as Blomqvist himself faced a slide.
By this stage, Ekström was comfortably clear in the lead and went on to win the heat, with Azcona unable to close in on the final two laps, instead dropping further back under sustained pressure from Blomqvist.
The final session of the day pitched Martin, Catsburg and Venturini against each other. Martin, with the inside line, took the lead at Turn 1, whilst Catsburg followed into second exiting the corner.
As the heat developed, Catsburg closed in on Martin in the lead on lap three, but by the final lap Venturini had caught the duo as well.
Coming out of the Farina hairpin, Venturini used Power Up to dive inside of Catsburg at Turn 6, taking second from a seemingly Power Up-less Catrburg.
Martin thus led home a Romeo Ferraris 1-2, with all three cars finishing within two seconds.
The action continues on Sunday with two Semi Finals followed by the six-car SuperFinals for each pool.
Pool Furious – Quarter Final 1
|1||1||Mattias EKSTRÖM||CUPRA EKS||CUPRA e-Racer||4||6:51.137||1:41.357||1|
|2||96||Mikel AZCONA||Hyundai Motorsport N||Hyundai Veloster N ETCR||4||6.788||1:43.099||3|
|3||10||Tom BLOMQVIST||CUPRA EKS||CUPRA e-Racer||4||7.431||1:43.116||2|
Pool Furious – Quarter Final 2
|1||36||Maxime MARTIN||Romeo Ferraris||Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR||4||6:54.147||1:42.141||1|
|2||21||Giovanni VENTURINI||Romeo Ferraris||Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR||4||1.298||1:41.779||3|
|3||88||Nicky CATSBURG||Hyundai Motorsport N||Hyundai Veloster N ETCR||4||1.939||1:41.863||2|