Robert Dahlgren took his third pole position of the 2019 TCR Scandinavia Touring Car Championship at the Gelleråsen Arena, outqualifying Sweden’s most experienced touring car racer, Mattias Andersson, by just 0.081 seconds in a close-fought qualifying session in the rain.
The PWR Racing – SEAT Dealer Team driver was fastest of all in the wet conditions, though only just, with Honda Racing Sweden driver Andersson right behind him in Qualifying 2, and with Kågered Racing Volkswagen driver Tomas Engström just 25-thousandths of a second slower than Dahlgren in Qualifying 1.
The two practice sessions were dry, which meant the data the teams accumulated earlier in the day didn’t really help when the rain began lashing down just an hour before qualifying.
Dahlgren proved he had a good handle of the conditions early-on, while the Kågered Racing Volkswagens of Engström and Andreas Ahlberg were also showing strong pace.
Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky also had steady pace in her PWR Racing – SEAT Dealer Team Cupra and safely made her way into Q2, while Mattias Andersson put his Honda Civic TCR through into the second part of qualifying as well with the fourth-fastest time in Q1.
It was the Brink Motorsport Audis who were working the hardest to adapt to the conditions, with all three of their drivers fighting to make sure they made it through to Q2. It was Hannes Morin who lost the inner-team fight due to a last-minute, and vital improvement from championship contender Andreas Wernersson.
In Qualifying 2, Dahlgren and Andersson battled for pole, with Dahlgren’s time of 1:16.513 edging Andersson’s Honda, even though the times were ten seconds away from last year’s pole position time which was set in much drier conditions.
The second row of the grid will be an all-Kågered Racing affair, with Andreas Ahlberg leading Tomas Engström, with Åhlin-Kottulinsky lining up fifth in her Cupra TCR.
Tobias Brink pipped team-mate Wernersson in the final moments of qualifying which critically secures the 29-year-old pole position for tomorrow’s second race with the top six reversed.
Dahlgren’s pole position earns him five points, and with his closest rival Wernersson down in seventh, this means the 2017 champion has now extended his points lead to 14 over the Brink Motorsport Audi driver before tomorrow’s two races.
The races will be streamed live on SBF’s website at https://sbfplay.solidtango.com and on the TCR Hub at www.tcr-series.tv, with live timing available at: https://www.motorsport-events.se/livetimingpccs/
Robert Dahlgren, #2 PWR Racing Cupra TCR, pole position, said:
“I wish I could say it was easy. It felt good all the way through, and then it started to dry in Q2, and it turns out my first run in Q2 was actually my fastest.
“I was a bit worried, as those greasy conditions at the end weren’t favourable for our car – but when there was a lot of rain it was good for us.
“I think we have a really good car in the dry as well – I’d rather have a race in the dry if I could choose, but if it’s raining, I want a lot of rain, or if it’s dry, it’s dry – not anything in between.”
Mattias Andersson, #20 Honda Racing Sweden Civic TCR, said:
“We were expecting the rain to come, so this morning it was a bit strange as we knew these wouldn’t matter.
“We weren’t quickest in practice, but we were thereabouts, but in qualifying it was just a matter of putting a lap together when the time was perfect, and we were only eight-hundredths behind Robert, so I’m very happy with that.
“The Cupras have been improving their starts – but if it’s dry, we normally do a good start, but if it’s wet, we will see.
“It’s easy to make mistakes in the rain, or you can end up with a car in the side of you, so I’d prefer it to be dry, but there’s nothing we can do about that – so we’ll just try to do a good start, and after that we know how to be wide!”
Andreas Ahlberg, #21 Kågered Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, said:
“I always pray for rain, so that was good for me. We struggled a bit in the morning in practice – but we knew since Knutstorp we have a good set-up for the rain.
“P3 in qualifying I’m happy with that. I saw the broadcast and it says it will rain all day. We are also quite light in the compensation weights this weekend, so I think we have good pace.”
1 – Robert Dahlgren – PWR Racing – Cupra TCR – 1:16.513
2 – Mattias Andersson – Honda Racing Sweden – Honda Civic Type R FK2 TCR – 0.081
3 – Andreas Ahlberg – Micke Kågered Racing – Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR – 0.16
4 – Tomas Engström – Micke Kågered Racing – Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR – 0.276
5 – Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky – PWR Racing – Cupra TCR – 0.662
6 – Tobias Brink – Brink Motorsport – Audi RS 3 LMS – 0.878
7 – Andreas Wernersson – Brink Motorsport – Audi RS 3 LMS – 0.916
8 – Albin Wärnelöv – Experion Racing – Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR – 1.223
9 – Hannes Morin – Brink Motorsport – Audi RS 3 LMS – 1.688
10 – Tobias Johansson – Brovallen Design – Audi RS 3 LMS – 1.997
11 – Louise Frost – Insight Racing – Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR – 3.068
12 – Peter ‘Poker’ Wallenberg – Poker Racing For Charity – Cupra TCR – 3.4