The Pau-Arnos E-Circuit next week will host the final round of the Pure ETCR, where the 2021 Electric Touring Series Champion will be crowned.
At Race FR, among the title contenders, there is also Rodrigo Baptista, who with the Giulia ETCR of Romeo Ferraris is fifth in the drivers’ classification at -76 from the top, occupied by Mattias Ekström.
At the beginning of the season, no one would have expected that even the Opera manufacturer could have had his own standard bearer to fight against the giants of Cupra and Hyundai, as well as the fact that the Lombard team could aspire to the crown of the teams.
The fact is that the first vintage of this innovative category gave many emotions and twists, so much so that Baptista was mathematically in full swing for the coveted trophy.
“Until a couple of weeks ago I didn’t even realize I was still in contention. I’m -76 points from the top, with 77 available I would still be in the running, but I also know that Ekström just needs to finish the first Battle because I can’t become a Champion anymore. But this doesn’t worry me, I’ll just focus on my job, which is to try to win the weekend, then you never know what will happen “, says the Brazilian, one of Pure’s surprises. ETCR.
“Considering that I only did one day of pre-season testing, so without having the opportunity to get the right confidence with the car, I certainly didn’t expect to be fighting for the title!”
“Honestly, I exceeded all expectations, I have a lot of experience with GT3s and with heavy and powerful cars, but the Giulia ETCR for me was something completely new and never seen before. I had to adapt to an electric powertrain, without engine brake. , new tires and anything else that forced me to be patient to be at ease. But here we are … “
Motorsport.com had personally followed the tests carried out in Varano De ‘Melegari by Baptista and Romeo Ferraris with the Giulia; there was optimism in the environment, but always keeping our feet on the ground, aware that the mountain to climb would be very steep.
The first weekend in Vallelunga helped everyone to get carried away with the series, the format and even the cars, then gradually the values emerged. And even the Giulia driven by ‘Digo’ has often amazed, also knowing the commitment that such a challenge has required.
“It is difficult to say what was the most challenging thing this year because I found myself with a new car, a series never seen before and a format never tried, which in fact are all challenges that I did not know. The Battles are very short. and one mistake can compromise everything, so you need to concentrate as much as possible for the entire duration “, explains the South American.
“It’s all very intense and it’s easy to fall into error, but on the other hand it’s the same for everyone. Perhaps the Time Trial is the most difficult part; in Vallelunga and Aragón I didn’t use the 500kW in the tests and when I got I found so much power in my hands, it was scary! It’s hard to manage them well on a racing car, in fact I even turned around in Hungary ”.
Rodrigo Baptista, Romeo Ferraris-M1RA, Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR
Photo by: Romeo Ferraris
“Aragón was the best weekend, where we hit the first podium with the team. In Vallelunga we saw that the car was competitive and powerful, but before going to Spain we were able to make a big leap in quality. There I won my first Battle and finished third overall, which was really nice. “
“The first Battle of Vallelunga was instead the worst moment because I made a small mistake that I could have avoided. I hit Jordi Gené and I was penalized, but at that moment I had to accept it because I was trying to do what I could.”
“We weren’t at the development level of the other teams, but that’s also why I’m surprised to be fighting for the title now. A sign that Romeo Ferraris and M1RA have really done a great job to be in this position now.”
Now we are preparing to face the last ‘effort’ of 2021, on that Pau-Arnos E-Circuit which is a novelty for everyone, therefore with further surprises that could come.
“I don’t know Pau-Arnos, I watched the on-board videos that the team sent me and I’m trying to understand how the corners are made, but it’s not that simple. We went to Varano to try after the Hungaroring, then the team continued their work last week as well, while I was in Brazil, so I hope we will be ready “.
“I think there is a good chance of finishing in the top three and if we do well as a team then we can still win the constructors’ title. And if we think that Romeo Ferraris is an independent manufacturer, that the car did its first lap only in March and that the other two manufacturers have been developing theirs for much longer and with much larger budgets, I think it is evident the incredible work that everyone involved in the project has done “.
“We have made the most progress of any team throughout the season and the car has now reached the point where I can push to the limit, compared to the beginning of the year. We are now vying for victory every weekend. , which is quite surprising. “