The potential for FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup title glory to go the way of CUPRA EKS driver Adrien Tambay became more likely after two of his title rivals suffered less than perfect Pool FAST Quarter Finals with first team-mate Mattias Ekström taking second place in QF1, then Romeo Ferraris driver Maxime Martin also finishing second in a far more action-packed QF2.
The first FAST Quarter Final was a relativelty benign affair, with the race starting and finishing in the same order: Tom Blomqvist – Mattias Ekström – Giovanni Venturini; with more of a surprise being no pulling of rank for Blomqvist to let Ekström past. Indeed, Ekström had to pay more attention behind him as Venturini tried to push his Romeo Ferraris past the Swede.
Pool FAST Quarter Final One Results
Tom Blomqvist CUPRA EKS
A good Quarter Final and managed to win it. Obviously qualifying set me up for that, being able to get the pole position this morning and then just converting that in the race. Mattias was very fair, but tomorrow is going to be a different day. Obviously he’s going to be out to try to win there, , but I’m happy with a good start so far.
Mattias Ekström CUPRA EKS
Giovanni Venturini Romeo Ferraris
So Quarter Final one is done P3 at the end – so last – so tomorrow we start P1 in the second Semi Final. The race was quite good in terms of pace but you know when you are with a similar cars around you is quite difficult to overtake them so we’ll see tomorrow.
Pool Fast Quarter Final Two
The second FAST Quarter Final was a far more spirited affair with a brace of Hyundai Motorsport N drivers – Nicky Catsburg and Jean-Karl Vernay – having a solitary target in Romeo Ferraris driver, Maxime Martin.
Catsburg made a strong start negating any advtange of Martin’s pole down to the first corner and in any case, Martin went deep into T1 allowing Catsburg a run on him through the next sequence of corners, from which the Veloster N ETCR emerged in front.
Martin then became the meat in a Hyundai Motorsport N sandwich, as Vernay pushed him from behind into Catsburg ahead, which then ironically gave Martin a better run through and alongside Catsburg, who then defended robustly, leaving Martin prey to Vernay.
Martin then regrouped whilst keeping the pressure on Vernay in front, whilst Catsburg could continue unperturbed. Martin kept his presence to the fore for Vernay whilst saving more Power Up than his rinal to line up an exciting final lap. Sure enough, the last lap proved the one with the Romeo Ferraris driver trying the outside of T1 before later passing in just as an agressive manner as Vernay had deployed earlier to take P2 in the penultimate corner.
Whilst both Tambay’s Pool FAST rivals suffered less than ideal results, the CUPRA EKS driver was given an extra title bid bonus as Pool FURIOUS rival Mikel Azcona was disqualified from the qualifying results after post-session scrutineering due to his front right wheel protruding the bodywork contrary to the technical regulations. This not only meant the Hyundai Motorsport N driver lost his qualifying points, but also he was relgated to the second Quarter Final of Pool FURIOUS; title hopes over.
Pool FAST Quarter Final Two Results
Nicky Catsburg Hyundai Motorsport N
I had a good start, Maxime went a bit wide into turn one so I was able to immediately go side-by-side and pass him around the outside of turn two. That felt very good. Unfortunately he hit me from behind in turn three, then throughout turn four we were side-by-side, had several contacts but I managed to stay ahead. After that, it was smooth sailing to be honest. Now I’m in Semi Final 1, and I can’t wait for tomorrow.
Maxime Martin Romeo Ferraris
A disappointing race for sure. I locked-up at the first corner so Nicky could pass me, but then it was just a game of J-K pushing me and blocking me but anyway, it’s racing, So let’s see tomorrow.
Jean-Karl Vernay Hyundai Motorsport N
As soon as Nicky got Maxime a bit wide, I went there and just did my job and passed him. I’m sure the race was pretty exciting to watch! After the change we made between my Qualifying and Mikel’s, the car is just incredibly good. Still annoyed about this morning but at least we found a solution and it was good fun out there. Let’s see how we go tomorrow; it’s going to be a hot race and we will have to keep our cool.
Pool FAST Race DE Quarter Finals Points
Standings Pre Pool FAST Race DE Quarter Finals (After Azcona Qualifying exclusion)
Standings Post Pool FAST Race DE Quarter Finals
Pool FAST Semi Final One Grid
Pool FAST Semi Final Two Grid