Things are good when you’re winning, that seems to be the sentiment emanating from CUPRA EKS heading to Zolder, as Xavi Serra, Head of CUPRA Racing, analyses the successful start of the season of the CUPRA EKS team in the FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup, where the brand is defending the ETCR title won last year.
With three rounds held so far in 2022, Pau, Hungaroring and Jarama, the results could not be more positive for the CUPRA team with Mattias Ekström leading the drivers’ standings as well as the team atop the team points tally too. But in a championship as tight as this one, nobody can relax.
“We already proved last year that we had a very strong car-driver combination,” said Serra.
“In preparation for 2022 we analysed where we could improve, because we knew that the rivals were not going to sleep. We made some changes, in the driver line-up – Tom Blomqvist and Adrien Tambay joined us – and also in the team, where we now have EKS, the team owned by Mattias Ekström, which was the perfect combination because of their experience and also their spirit matches very well with the CUPRA world. We have reinforced safety and robustness in the car, as we know that this year, with an even higher level of drivers, there will be a lot of contact.”
“IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE WE HAD SUCH A GREAT VIBE AT THE RACES AS WE DO IN THE FIA ETCR”
CUPRA’s development has certainly been positive and, so far, the brand has won three out of three possible event victories: Ekström won in France and Spain, and Tambay did so in Hungary. In addition, CUPRA has two hat-tricks and a 1-2.
Any thoughts of complacency or a throttling back of efforts don’t seem to be on the agenda.
“Despite the good results, we are still working behind closed doors, because we have made many changes in the team in a very short time and there is still a lot to polish,” he said.
Serra, who highlights the good team spirit among all the members, says that the format of the championship has proved to be the right one, despite the fact that it breaks with a traditional schedule of practice, race and qualifying. Here there are short, intense battles over two days of competition.
“The concept is fine and I think the fans prefer it. It’s much easier to attract people with a format that, in 10 minutes, allows you to enjoy the race and know the result. It’s been a long time since we’ve had such a good vibe with the whole team,” he said.
“The natural evolution for FIA ETCR is to add a fourth manufacturer, as this will make the competition even more exciting. Currently there are only three teams involved: CUPRA, Hyundai and Romeo Ferraris. Bringing in a new competitor is essential. We are proving that the concept is very interesting. Battles with more cars and more brands will make it unbeatable.”