Adrien Tambay crowned champion of inaugural FIA eTouring Car season

CUPRA’s Adrien Tambay was crowned the champion of the first FIA eTouring Car World Cup season at the Sachsenring, after completing a perfect score in the season finale.

Tambay continued to win all of his sessions on Sunday, and with team-mate Ekström only finishing third in his SuperFinal, it meant that Tambay would win the title before even taking to the track for his final session.

The day’s action consisted of two three-lap Semi Final heats for each Pool, followed by one six-lap SuperFinal for each half of the draw.

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Pool Fast Semi Finals

The order in the first Semi Final of Pool Fast was established at the very start, with CUPRA’s Tom Blomqivst holding the inside line into the first corner.

Alongside the Brit, team-mate Mattias Ekström had to fend off a challenge from the Hyundai of Nicky Catsburg, who tried to go around the outside but had to slot into third.

As Blomqvist built himself some breathing space, Ekström was under pressure from Catsburg throughout the entire first lap as the Dutchman used more of his hybrid boost than his rival ahead early in the race.

Three laps in a row from the end of the first lap Catsburg tried the same move, trying to get a run on the reigning PURE ETCR champion exiting the final corner, but on all three occasions Ekström fended off his advances.

Blomqvist thus won by a second and a half from Ekström and Catsburg, who was a further two tenths off.

Hyundai’s Jean-Karl Vernay found himself in an Alfa Romeo sandwich for the start of the second Semi Final, with Venturini starting from the favourable line.

Vernay tried to pull a move on Venturini into the first corner but the Frenchman locked his brakes and allowed Martin into second.

Starting the second lap, Martin breezed past Venturini for the lead into the first corner, with the two team-mates not battling each other as they did so.

Later in the lap Vernay passed Venturini for second, completing the move into the final corner, and the positions stayed fixed thereafter for the final two laps.

Pool Fast Semi Final 1 result

POS NO CL NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 10 Tom BLOMQVIST CUPRA EKS CUPRA e-Racer 4 6:05.277 1:30.348 1
2 1 Mattias EKSTRÖM CUPRA EKS CUPRA e-Racer 4 1.531 1:30.689 2
3 88 Nicky CATSBURG Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai Veloster N ETCR 4 1.778 1:30.854 3

Pool Fast Semi Final 2 result

POS NO CL NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 36 Maxime MARTIN Romeo Ferraris Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR 4 6:04.951 1:30.251 3
2 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai Veloster N ETCR 4 1.053 1:30.356 2
3 21 Giovanni VENTURINI Romeo Ferraris Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR 4 1.654 1:30.328 1
Nicky Catsburg, Hyundai Motorsport N, Hyundai Veloster N ETCR
Photo: FIA ETCR

Pool Furious Semi Finals

The first Pool Furious Semi Final saw Adrien Tambay catapult into the lead at the start, whilst Luca Filippi muscled his Alfa Romeo past the Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz exiting the first corner.

By lap three, Filippi had closed in on Tambay for the lead, and the Italian tried to go for the lead into the first corner on the last lap.

However, he outbraked himself, with Tambay allowing the Alfa Romeo to sail down the inside and spin out into the gravel all on his own, allowing the CUPRA racer to continue his perfect weekend and take the win in front of Michelisz, whilst Filippi was a non-finisher.

The last of the Semi Finals was between Bruno Spengler, Mikel Azcona and Jordi Gené, with the trio holding that order through the first lap.

By lap two Spengler had used much more of his power up than the others but had not broken free, and Azcona made a clean move for the lead at the fast Turn 8.

Hyundai’s young Spaniard went on to win the heat, whilst Spengler lost second on the line by a mere 0.001 seconds, having twice weaved to try and block Gené in the process to no avail.

Pool Furious Semi Final 1 result

POS NO CL NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 27 Adrien TAMBAY CUPRA EKS CUPRA e-Racer 4 6:05.879 1:30.787 1
2 5 Norbert MICHELISZ Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai Veloster N ETCR 4 0.350 1:30.534 2
R 25 Luca FILIPPI Romeo Ferraris Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR 3 DNF 1:30.779 3

Pool Furious Semi Final 2 result

POS NO CL NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 96 Mikel AZCONA Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai Veloster N ETCR 4 6:06.631 1:30.677 2
2 28 Jordi GENÉ CUPRA EKS CUPRA e-Racer 4 3.896 1:31.547 3
3 7 Bruno SPENGLER Romeo Ferraris Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR 4 3.897 1:31.620 1
ETCR cars
Photo: FIA ETCR

SuperFinals

Going into the Pool Fast SuperFinal, Ekström would have to finish at least second in order to stand a chance of defeating Tambay, competing in the later SuperFinal, to the title.

Pole-sitter Blomqvist defended the inside line at the start, forcing Ekström to look to the outside, whilst Hyundai’s Catsburg held third.

Ekström had already been on the receiving end of some taps from Catsburg on lap two, and at the end of the lap the Swede’s race unravelled as Catsburg got by and Ekström put a wheel into the gravel, allowing Martin and Vernay in front as well.

Catsburg caught Blomqvist for the lead by lap four, as the entire field bunched together, with Ekström getting ahead of Vernay for fourth in the process.

Going into the final corner of the last lap, Martin made a late move to try and take second from Catsburg, but the Romeo Ferraris driver misjudged the pass and spun the Hyyundai out and down to last.

Blomqvist won the SuperFinal by over a second from Martin, with Ekström inheriting third – not enough for the title – with Catsburg’s demise.

Knowing he was already champion, Tambay’s focus in the Pool Furious SuperFinal was on maintaining a perfect weekend score.

He held off an early challenge from Hyundai’s Michelisz at the start, whilst Azcona slipped from fourth back to sixth with a poor start.

There was little action thereafter in the SuperFinal – Tambay went on to win and complete his perfect weekend score to celebrate being the first FIA ETCR champion in style, whilst Michelisz finished in second on the road.

Filippi brought his Alfa Romeo home in third, ahead of team-mate Spengler in fourth.

The two Spaniards dropped back, with Azcona finally getting by Gené near the end of the fourth lap.

Pool Fast SuperFinal result

POS NO CL NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 10 Tom BLOMQVIST CUPRA EKS CUPRA e-Racer 6 9:07.985 1:30.555 1
2 36 Maxime MARTIN Romeo Ferraris Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR 6 1.327 1:30.661 4
3 1 Mattias EKSTRÖM CUPRA EKS CUPRA e-Racer 6 1.332 1:31.299 2
4 21 Giovanni VENTURINI Romeo Ferraris Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR 6 2.163 1:30.339 6
5 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai Veloster N ETCR 6 5.012 1:30.411 5
6 88 Nicky CATSBURG Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai Veloster N ETCR 6 15.059 1:30.482 3

Pool Furious SuperFinal result

POS NO CL NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 27 Adrien TAMBAY CUPRA EKS CUPRA e-Racer 6 9:08.888 1:30.463 1
2 5 Norbert MICHELISZ Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai Veloster N ETCR 6 0.468 1:30.339 2
3 25 Luca FILIPPI Romeo Ferraris Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR 6 0.680 1:30.341 3
4 7 Bruno SPENGLER Romeo Ferraris Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR 6 4.676 1:31.069 6
5 96 Mikel AZCONA Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai Veloster N ETCR 6 5.521 1:30.942 4
6 28 Jordi GENÉ CUPRA EKS CUPRA e-Racer 6 6.924 1:31.084 5

Blomqvist also had a perfect score of 100 points during the weekend, with the Brit being crowned the overall event winner after having posted a faster qualifying lap than Tambay.

But it was tambay celebrating the bigger prize, as the Frenchman lifted the title with a season score of 535 points, ahead of Ekström (488), Blomqvist (434), Martin (421) and Azcona (408).

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