Heading into the fifth round of the FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup, Race IT at Vallelunga, CUPRA EKS are the team to beat with a healthy lead in the manufacturers’ standings as well as the top two positions in the drivers’ standings. And they are hungry for more.
The squad have amassed a tally of 725 points, 202 more than nearest rival Romeo Ferraris, whilst Adrien Tambay is the top driver with 363 points from team-mate Mattias Ekström’s 342.
Despite being in his maiden ETCR season, Tambay is the only driver to win all four of his DHL Super Finals this season and was crowned King of the Weekend in only his second ETCR race meeting, at the Hungaroring.
“I’m really happy to go to Italy,” said Tambay. “It’s a country I always enjoy and I have special links to this country. So really looking forward to that it’s a track where we have been testing quite a few times in Vallelunga So we know that the car can perform well.
“We know that the competition will be very close because they are also very good there and also very well prepared. I’m looking forward to the next challenge and, and a little bit of pasta too!”
No doubt heaping the pasta on to his team-mate’s plate to add some ballast to try to slow him will be Mattias Ekström – with the defending ETCR champion heading to Vallelunga second in the standings and aiming to take the lead by overturning a 21 points deficit.
“The race in Vallelunga will be a highlight because we have been testing and driving many laps there so we should be able to see the maximum performance of the cars,” said Ekström.
“For me it’s very exciting to go there again and enjoy the track. We have proof we have the car and the pace, so we’ll keep pushing to be on the top again. I’m sure CUPRA will do another superb performance on a track that we know very well.”
Tom Blomqvist meanwhile arrives in Italy fifth in the drivers’ table and looking for his first Super Final win.
“Vallelunga is a track I’ve tested before with the CUPRA ETCR car so this obviously helps with experience and getting up to speed should be good,” said Blomqvist.
“Obviously, the last few rounds have been quite variable for me but I think at Vallelunga we should be in a good position again. I think we should be challenging for the podium and wins again.”
Finally from the CUPRA squad, Jordi Gené is hoping for a better weekend than last time out.
“We hope to be a bit better in Vallelunga as it’s a circuit that should fit our car better than Zolder,” said Gené. “We’ve tested in Vallelunga so we know it well, for me, it’s important because to drive in a circuit I know as that’s going to be less of a disadvantage. I’m really looking forward and I hope that we can get back to a good result personally, and with CUPRA as well.”