Mattias Ekström ended the opening day of PURE ETCR’s Race IT at Autodromo Vallelunga at the head of Pool B thanks to a pair of impressive victories aboard his CUPRA e-Racer.
The crucial Battle came in Round 2 as Zengo Motorsport X CUPRA driver Ekström faced off against Romeo Ferraris – M1RA racer Luca Filippi; each having won their Round 1 Battle earlier in the afternoon.
Ekström chose to start on the advantageous inside line on Vallelunga’s 1.7km Club Circuit – a privilege he was given after setting a better fastest lap than Filippi during Round 1.
It proved to be a crucial benefit as they launched away from the Starting Gate as the Swede led into Turn 1 and then held off his rival for victory.
Watch Pool B Round 1 highlights
Ekström’s double-success means he leads Pool B on 27 points heading into the overnight, with Hyundai Motorsport N’s Jean-Karl Vernay five points behind in second and Filippi a point further back in third.
Vernay had been beaten into Turn 1 by Ekström at the start of their Round 1 Battle and finished second, the Frenchman unable to challenge as his rival used much of his 40 seconds of Power-Up early, taking his car from 300kW to 500kW and built a big lead.
That led to a one-on-one scrap for the Frenchman with Ekström’s team-mate Dániel Nagy in Round 2. He triumphed over the CUPRA driver to put himself second in the Pool B points.
The final contest of the day was held between Oli Webb and John Filippi, who had both finished third in their Round 1 Battles.
Webb, who had finished Round 1 with excess Power-Up available, led into Turn 1 and scored his first Battle win in the Giulia ETCR by Romeo Ferraris, ahead of the Hyundai driver.
Battle will resume in the morning on the longer, 3.2km circuit at Vallelunga. Round 3, the Time-Trial, for which the maximum 500kW power will be available throughout, will set the grids for the two DHL SuperFinals.