Mattias Ekström’s third-place finish at PURE ETCR Race HU was more than enough to ensure he once again ended the weekend wearing the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader jacket.
The CUPRA X Zengo Motorsport driver’s 63-point haul increased his lead in the Drivers’ Standings to 29 points over nearest rival Jean-Karl Vernay – fourth at the Hungaroring for Hyundai Motorsport N.
Ekström said that driving with one eye on the Drivers’ crown – a race he has led the challenge for since the second event in Spain – had left him less willing to take unnecessary risks in the past few events.
He pointed particularly to the incident between himself and Hyundai’s Augusto Farfus in Round 2 on Saturday as an indication of the different philosophy he’s taking.
Contact between the pair cost Ekström the Battle lead, resulted in both cars briefly going off the road and earned Farfus a six-point penalty when Race Stewards deemed him ‘wholly responsible’ for the incident.
“I understand what he was trying to do,” Ekström said. “He was trying to win, he saw a gap and – as Ayrton Senna said – if you don’t go for a gap, you’re not a racing driver.
“But if he was in my position, in the lead of the championship, he would not have tried it. I know my target and I have to protect my points everywhere I can. I’m looking forward to the final round.”