CUPRA EKS driver Mattias Ekström took a masterful first FURIOUS Semi Final in whilst Hyundai Motorsport N’s Nicky Catsburg scored a dream first FIA ETCR win on his series debut as the action heated up at Circuit Madrid Jarama-RACE.
In warm but windy conditions for the first FURIOUS Semi Final, Ekström unusually made a good start off the line and deployed plenty of Power Up down to turn one, with Hyundai Motorsport N’s Mikel Azcona in hot pursuit. Romeo Ferraris Maxime Martin meanwhile clearly was opting for Power Up austerity in the early stages to bid his time for a later lunge.
Ekström held the power button on a little longer than Azcona, and it was a clean progression through T1, Ekström-Azcona-Martin, with Martin dropping away from the lead two as the lap progressed. Lap one saw Azcona keep pushing, but Ekström had sufficient safety margin from his former team-mate to not feel the squeeze and keep just out of reach.  Lap two played out in similar fashion, the third lap too, but there was action afoot for Martin. Seemingly previously is in a race by himself, saving his Power Ups, late on lap 3 he managed to take just a little too much exit kerb on a fast, flowing left-hander and a trip through the gravel left him evern further adrift of those ahead, his strategy ruined.
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For the final lap, Ekström had been able to break from his pursuer and he crossed the line over 1.7secs to the good from Azcona with Martin boosting his way to just 0.8secs from Azcona depsite his brief off-road career.
Pool FURIOUS Semi Final 1 Results

Credit Foto FIA ETCR

In the second FURIOUS Semi Final Nicky Catsburg proved victorious in his FIA ETCR debut for Hyundai Motorsport N coming from the outside P3 position on the grid to emerge from the second turn in the lead. Pole-man Tom Blomqvist (CUPRA EKS) and Romeo Ferraris’ Giovanni Venturini both lost out at this start, with Blomqvist robustly defending from Venturini through T1 but unable to do anything to defend from Catburg’s shrewd positioning and Power Up use.
After the frenzy of the first corners, it was then a more measured play from all three FURIOUS drivers, with Blomqvist on a determined watching brief behind Catsburg. The start of lap three looked to be the Swede’s best opportunity with an attempt at the outside of turn one, but Catsburg was wise to this play and defended cleanly and sufficiently. Behind the dicing duo, Venturini was pushing whilst saving Power Ups like his team-mate Martin in the earlier heat, but if not as dramatically as the Belgian, the Italian did kick up a bit of dust as he tried to keep in touch.
For the final lap, Blomqvist kept close but ultimately for no cigar as Catsburg cruised to his first FIA ETCR win on his debut weekend and Venturini finished just four tenths off Blomqvist in second.
Pool FURIOUS Semi Final 2 Results

Credit Foto FIA ETCR

Pool FURIOUS Standings post Semi Finals

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