Azcona on top as Pure ETCR rivals collide in Hungary
Mikel Azcona was the man to beat on Saturday as the Spaniard ended the opening day of Pure ETCR competition with a pair of Battle wins and a perfect score at the Hungaroring.
Azcona was in commanding form for CUPRA X Zengo Motorsport; defeating Hyundai Motorsport N’s Jean-Karl Vernay and Romeo Ferraris-M1RA’s Luca Filippi in an opening-round clash that featured the best first lap of the season for overtaking.
He then defeated Filippi’s team-mate Rodrigo Baptista in the afternoon to reach the halfway point with an unblemished 27 points - the maximum available on the day.
The key to his victory being a clever use of his Power-Up exiting Turn 1 on the opening lap; unleashing the full capability of his 500kW (670bhp) electric power plant and crucially pushing him in front between Turns 1 and 2.
There was additional joy for the CUPRA squad when local hero Daniel Nagy took his first Battle win in Round 2; benefitting from a three-second penalty given to Vernay for exceeding track limits.
The flashpoint of the day happened in Pool A as Round 1 winners Augusto Farfus and Mattias Ekstrom faced off in Round 2.
Farfus won in his Hyundai but was later penalised six championship points when the stewards judged him to be ‘wholly responsible’ for a collision at Turn 4 that put both himself and the series leader off the road as the Brazilian attempted to overtake.
“I have to accept the penalty,” said Farfus. “But if the occasion repeated itself then very likely I’d go for the same move again because there was a gap and an opportunity.”
Ekstrom added: “Augusto knows who is leading the championship, so he needs to catch up. In the opposite situation, if he was leading the championship then I don’t think he’d have tried it. But when the sweat dries, you have to be professional enough to move on.”
That penalty for Farfus means that Romeo Ferraris-M1RA driver Philipp Eng heads the pool overnight with 22 points - an identical scenario to what happened two weeks ago in Copenhagen.
Eng defeated rookie team-mate Luigi Ferrara in Round 2 while team-mates Baptista and Luca Filippi were both also winners on the day, as was Hyundai’s John Filippi in Round 2.