EKS CUPRA Racing teammates Adrien Tambay and Tom Blomqvist emerged as the best drivers in the FIA ETCR’s first day at the Sachsenring. They both set pole position and won the Quarter Final in their respective pools.
As far as the title fight is concerned, Tambay has stretched his advantage over Mattias Ekström by another seven points and leads by 22 when 65 are still at stake tomorrow.
Pool Fast – After spinning on his warm-up lap, Blomqvist set the pole with the fastest lap of the day 1:27.837, beating Ekström (1:27.915) and Venturini (1:27.979).
In the first Quarter Final, Blomqvist made good use of the pole and kept Ekström at bay to lead for the whole four laps. Ekström tried to find a gap to pass his teammate but had to fight to defend his position from a determined Giovanni Venturini and eventually settled for second. Maxime Martin was on pole in the second Quarter Final, but Nicky Catsburg passed him, they clashed and Jean Karl Vernay seized the opportunity to overtake Martin for P2. Catsburg pulled away and won by 3.4 seconds, while Martin beat Verney in a tough battle for second, but the Stewards handed the Belgian a 5-second penalty that reversed the positions.
Pool Furious – Tambay clocked the pool’s best time on his first attempt, 1:28.173 that was not to be beaten; Mikel Azcona (1:28.255) and Norbert Michelisz (1:28.343) were placed second and third, but the Spaniard was disqualified for a technical infringement at the front axle. With an impressive first lap, Tambay pulled away in the first Quarter Final; Michelisz put in a great effort to close the gap and during the final lap was on the tail of the Frenchman’s car. Michelisz took to the inside into the last bend and nosed ahead, but Tambay beat him to the line by two tenths; Spengler finished a distant third. Luca Filippi led the second Quarter Final ahead of Azcona who passed Jordi Gené during the first lap. Gené retired with a flat rear tyre in lap 2, while Azcona put the pressure on Filippi who bravely resisted until the final turn, when Azcona dived to the inside and forced the Italian to go wide onto the gravel. After the race the Stewards imposed Azcona a 10-second penalty that promoted Filippi to victory.
Action will continue tomorrow with the Semi-Finals and the two Super Finals.
1. A. Tambay 470 pts; 2. M. Ekström 448; 3. M. Azcona 378
Picture: FIA ETCR