Mission accomplished at Zolder for Maxime Martin, who won the FIA ETCR round of his home country, scoring the maximum 100 points on offer. The Romeo Ferrari’s driver disrupted the winning streak of EKS CUPRA racers who had won all three previous events, moving into third place of the standings. Martin’s prefect weekend culminated in an authoritative victory in the Pool Furious Super Final in which he beat Mikel Azcona and Mattias Ekström. Adrien Tambay had previously won the Pool Fast Super Final ahead of his teammate Tom Blomqvist, a victory that helped the young Frenchman to retake the leadership in the standings, 21 points clear of Ekström.
In the first Semifinal of the Pool Fast, Blomqvist was on pole, but Tambay and Giovanni Venturini made better starts. Blomqvist then overtook Venturini for P2 during the first lap and the positions froze until the end, with Tambay taking a comfortable win. Bruno Spengler pipped the pole-sitting Jean-Karl Vernay at the start of the second Semifinal and led throughout the three-lap race, winning by two tenths over Vernay, with Norbert Michelisz third.
Martin made good use of the pole and led the Pool Furious first Semifinal, while Azcona and Ekström fought for P2. The Spaniard passed the Swede into T2, but Ekström continued to put the pressure and retook the position after they made contact at the end of lap 2. Azcona went onto the gravel and rejoined, but despite his efforts had to settle for third; up front, Martin was uncatchable and won by nearly two seconds. After the race, a five-second penalty to Ekström promoted Azcona to second. In the second Semifinal, Nicky Catsburg took an easy victory ahead of Jordi Gené and Luca Filippi.
At the start of the Pool Fast Final, Tambay and Blomqvist led the field, while Michelisz overtook Vernay and Venturini, moving up to P4 and then passed Spengler for third. During the second lap, Vernay passed both the Giulia cars of Venturini and Spengler, advancing to P4, then he passed his teammate Michelisz in the following lap. Tambay controlled Blomqvist and won by two tenths, with Vernay third ahead of Michelisz, while Venturini overtook Spengler for P5 during the last lap.
The Pool Furious Final saw Martin taking the lead from the pole, while Azcona and Ekström resumed their duel. Catsburg entered in the fight and began to put the pressure on Ekström; they made contact a couple of times during the first two laps, but Ekström kept the position and Catsburg lost contact. Martin did not make mistakes and kept Azcona at a safe distance, winning by 1.8 seconds; Ekström was third, while Catsburg beat Filippi for P4.
The fifth round of the series will be at Vallelunga on 22/24 July.
Super Final – Pool Fast
1. Adrien Tambay (EKS CUPRA, CUPRA e-Racer), 4 laps
2. Tom Blomqvist (EKS CUPRA, CUPRA e-Racer), 0.249
3. Jean-Karl Vernay (Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai Veloster N), 4.697
Super Final – Pool Furious
1. Maxime Martin (Romeo Ferraris, Alfa Romeo Giulia), 4 laps
2. Mikel Azcona (Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai Veloster N), 1.805
3. Mattias Ekström (EKS CUPRA, CUPRA e-Racer), 3.839
1. A. Tambay 363 pts; 2. M. Ekström 342; 3. M. Martin 300
Picture: FIA ETCR