Perfect weekend for Ekström and CUPRA in Jarama

The CUPRA EKS team dominated its home round of the 2022 FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup, winning both the Pool FAST and Pool FURIOUS DHL Super Finals at the Circuito de Madrid Jarama-RACE to extend its lead at the top of the manufacturers’ points table.

Mattias Ekström recorded his second perfect score of the season by mastering Pool FURIOUS. The reigning ETCR champion won his four-lap Quarter Final and Semi Final races from pole and then made a great start from pole in the five-lap DHL Super Final to skilfully maintain his lead on a hard-fought opening lap before faultless driving and expert deployment of the Power Up boost saw him sprint away from the rest of the field to win.

The accumulative points gathered over the weekend added up to a perfect score of 100, allowing Ekström to retake the lead of the series.

“I had the perfect weekend at Jarama scoring maximum driver points, and for the CUPRA team to finish one-two-three was also very good,” said Ekström. “To do so well on our home track, with a lot of CUPRA friends and guests in attendance, was very important – and the icing on the cake was to see Jordi Gené score his first podium of the season. It was a very hot race weekend, but I enjoyed everything. I couldn’t be happier right now.”

Over in Pool FAST, Adrien Tambay was enjoying another excellent race weekend. He’d arrived in Jarama leading the drivers’ category, having been crowned King of the Weekend last time out in Hungary. Having already won his DHL SuperFinal races at Pau and the Hungaroring, Tambay made it three SuperFinal wins in a row in Jarama, after he made a magnificent getaway from pole and led the race from start to finish. It was only his second-place finish in his Quarter Final that separated him from Ekström on this occasion. It was that close! Tambay is second in the ETCR drivers’ standings, eight points behind Ekström.

“Honestly, a great race,” said Tambay. “It was very important for me to be back on P1 today after yesterday where I didn’t maximize my own performance. So P1 in the Semi Final and P1 in the DHL Super Final is mega. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from this weekend, and when you make the slightest mistake you’re not happy with yourself, but I have to say I’m happy for Jordi, Mattias and the whole team; to be 1,2,3 in Jarama is a great achievement so Vamos CUPRA at home! It’s a big win again and so very happy and very proud of the family.”

Jordi Gené enjoyed his best race weekend of the season and was on stunning form in front of his home fans. With air/track temperatures of over 40˚/50˚C, Gené won his Pool FAST Quarter Final from pole (setting the fastest lap of the weekend, a 1.37.123) and then finished second in his Semi Final to line up in his DHL Super Final third on the grid. He made a brilliant start and took second place with a move down the inside of Turn 1 and held that position to the end, finishing just 0.401 seconds behind Tambay. A fine weekend’s performance, and his first podium finish of the season, moves him from 11th to seventh in the drivers’ standings.

“I am extremely happy because Spain is the best place to score such a fantastic result like this!” said Gené. “Everything worked very well since the beginning of the race weekend in Jarama. I managed to get pole position in Qualifying with the fastest lap of the weekend.

“The only small mistake I made all weekend was leaving the door open in my Semi Final race, but then the Super Final was another very good race for me. At the start I was fighting for the win with my team-mate [Mattias Ekström] which was very close and very clean. But in the end, I am very happy for Mattias, for CUPRA and for myself. This performance gives me a lot of confidence going forward into the next race weekend.”

The points collected over the race weekend enabled CUPRA to score another ETCR podium lockout, with Ekström, Tambay and Gené finishing 1-2-3.

Tom Blomqvist is one place ahead of Gené in sixth in the drivers’ table after another strong showing in Spain. A good performance in the early rounds of Pool FURIOUS saw him start Semi Final 2 from pole and finish second. That placed him fifth on the grid for the Pool FURIOUS DHL Super Final, and after a great start from the third row of the grid he got up to fourth place before being forced wide mid-race and losing two places. Despite a magnificent and hard-fought battle, Blomqvist finished sixth.

“Not the weekend I wanted although I kept pushing all the way,” said Blomqvist. “It was a great weekend for the team in CUPRA’s home race so I can only be happy from that perspective, but I definitely wanted better results from my side.

“I was pushing hard in the DHL Super Final but just could not get past Venturini. It’s time to reset, have a look at everything and head to Zolder for a better weekend.”