Cupra’s Azcona wins inaugural Pure ETCR event
Zengo Motorsport X Cupra’s Mikel Azcona made history by overcoming adversity to claim victory in the inaugural Pure ETCR event at Italy’s Vallelunga circuit.
It was a landmark victory for the Spaniard, who become the first winner of the new all-electric, multi-brand, touring car race series.
Azcona was one of six drivers put in Pool A for Saturday’s two rounds of ‘Battles’ on the short circuit, and led the standings following a pair of victories.
But a puncture-induced spin during Sunday morning’s Time Trial A - which set the grid for the SuperFinal A later in the day - meant he started the longest race of the weekend last.
A stunning fightback brought him victory after the Hyundai Motorsport N Velosters of Augusto Farfus and Tom Chilton suffered punctures of their own while lying first and second.
“We made history, coming to the first weekend of Pure ETCR and winning it,” said Azcona.
“I’m super happy because after free practice I was confident for the Time Trial, but I had really bad luck when I had a puncture at the rear and I had to start the SuperFinal from the rear.
"It was really hard starting with five fast cars in front of me, but I received good information from the team for how to use the Power-Up and I’m just so happy.
“The Cupra has been fast all weekend and the team did a really great job. I’m sad for my team-mate, who had really bad luck with the penalty. This is a great way to start the season.”
Photo by: ETCR
Azcona’s SuperFinal A win over Cupra team-mate Jordi Gene meant that the third Cupra driven by Ekstrom, who qualified on pole for SuperFinal B, was the only driver capable of beating him to overall victory.
Unfortunately for Ekstrom, he was disqualified from the results of the Time Trial after the Zengo team worked on his car in pitlane during the session and breached parc-ferme regulations.
While Azcona charged to victory, Ekstrom scythed through the field; ultimately falling less than a second short of winner Jean-Karl Vernay, whose results brought the Hyundai man to second overall, ahead of Ekstrom.
Gene was fourth overall with Romeo Ferraris - M1RA drivers Luca Filippi and Rodrigo Baptista - both of whom completed the podium in their respective SuperFinals - fifth and sixth overall.
Britain’s Oli Webb (Romeo Ferraris - M1RA) and Chilton hold eighth in the standings after the opening event.
The series continues in three weeks’ time at Motorland Aragon, Spain, as part of a double-header with sister series the FIA World Touring Car Cup.
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