December 3, 2021

A race for history: CUPRA to fight for the PURE ETCR title in France

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  • The last PURE ETCR event of the season takes place at the Pau-Arnos circuit in France
  • Three CUPRA drivers have a mathematical chance of winning the title: Mattias Ekström, Mikel Azcona and Jordi Gené
  • CUPRA has won three of the four rounds so far this season and leads the manufacturers’ standings

Pau-Arnos, 13th October 2021 – The inaugural season of the PURE ETCR, the first ever electric touring car championship, is coming to an end. The Pau-Arnos circuit in France hosts the fifth and final round of the season next weekend, and three drivers from the CUPRA X Zengő Motorsport team are in with a chance of winning the title at the wheel of the CUPRA e-Racer.

After becoming the “King of the Weekend” in Spain and being on the podium in all of the four events so far, Mattias Ekström goes into the final race of the season in first place in the standings. The Swedish driver has a 29-point lead over his closest challenger, Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay.

“We go into the last event of the season in first position in the championship with a small lead, but that doesn’t mean anything, because there are up to five drivers with a chance of winning the title. We have to be at our best again, because the battle, as in each of the previous events, will be very close. I have never raced here before, but I am looking forward to my first laps in the CUPRA e-Racer there,” said Ekström, who leads the drivers’ championship.

Spaniards Mikel Azcona and Jordi Gené are also strong contendants for the title. Mikel, King of the Weekend in Italy last June and in Hungary, is third, 35 points behind the leader. On the other hand, Gené, one of the most consistent drivers of the season, arrives at the final round in fourth place in the standings, 61 points behind Mattias.

“In France the driver’s title is at stake and I will fight until the last lap,” said Mikel Azcona. “We are also fighting for the manufacturers’ championship, so every point will be important to win the title. The CUPRA e-Racer and all of CUPRA X Zengő Motorsport have shown that they deserve to win it.”

Pau-Arnos is an unknown track for Ekström and Azcona, but not for Gené, who has very special memories of this place: “The first time I drove a real racing car was at Pau-Arnos. It was in 1986 and I was only 16 years old. I had just won the Spanish Karting Championship and my father gave me a test with a single-seater. We didn’t have anything like this in Spain, the circuit was new and we had to drive for several hours to get here. I wish I could remember what the track was like, it would be an important advantage now!”

The CUPRA X Zengő Motorsport team, formed by Ekström, Gené, Azcona and Hungarian Dániel Nagy, has won three of the four rounds this season and thus leads the manufacturers’ championship. In the title race, Romeo Ferraris – M1RA and Hyundai Motorsport N are 66 and 93 points behind respectively.

Pau-Arnos to crown the first PURE ETCR champion

The Pau-Arnos event will go down in motorsport history, as the winner of the title will become the first winner of a multi-brand electric touring car championship. The CUPRA e-Racer, with no less than 500 kW (680 PS) and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.2 seconds, has proven the potential of electric technology in competition by winning tight wheel-to-wheel battles against other manufacturers.

The 3.030-kilometre track, which opened in 1986, has recently been upgraded to be one of Europe’s most advanced circuits in terms of electromobility. In its aim to become a zero-emission facility, the pits have been equipped with permanent charging stations and a multitude of sustainable projects are underway.

The Pau-Arnos circuit is located 20 kilometres from Pau, a city that is well known to motorsport enthusiasts, as the Pau Grand Prix was once held on its streets. Since 1933, this historic event has hosted various top-level competitions, such as Formula Libre, Formula 1 (the race did not count towards the world championship), Formula 3 and the World Touring Car Championship, where drivers of the stature of Juan Manuel Fangio, Jochen Rindt, Alberto Ascari, Jim Clark and Lewis Hamilton have won.

As it happened in Aragón and Hungary, the PURE ETCR and WTCR will coincide again in the same event, which will force Azcona and Gené to double their efforts in a key weekend for the resolution of the championship. Both will have to constantly switch from the combustion CUPRA Leon Competición to the 100% electric CUPRA e-Racer.

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