The 2019 TCR Scandinavian Touring Car Championship delivered two exciting races at the Midnattssolsloppet races at the new Skellefteå Drive Center, where a record crowd turned out in brilliant weather to witness a first class duel between local hero Robert Dahlgren, and title contender Andreas Wernersson in Race 1, where Wernersson emerged the winner, but Dahlgren got his way in the second heat.
In the first race, Wernersson launched into the lead from pole position in his Brink Motorsport Audi RS 3 LMS, while Robert Dahlgren’s PWR Racing – SEAT Dealer Team Cupra kept in touch during the first ten laps, applying pressure at every turn on the Audi driver.
Behind them, Andreas Ahlberg, in the Micke Kågered Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, was fighting his own battle to keep back the Cupra TCR of Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, who was battling back after a tough qualifying session. The Red Bull Athlete had passed two Audis off the line, and was aggressively chasing the final podium spot from Ahlberg.
The battle for the lead came to an exciting climax on the final lap, as Dahlgren muscled his way past Wernersson at Turns 5-6, and looked all-set to steal back a victory at his home race after a disappointing qualifying session.
Wernersson however, had now quickly switched from defence to attack, and dived down the inside of Dahlgren’s Cupra at the hairpin, giving no quarter.
The two made contact as Dahlgren turned in for the corner, but it was now Wernersson in the lead during the final sequence, before a mistake at the final turn allowed Dahlgren to have another run on the Audi driver, and the two charged side-by-side down the straight, but Wernersson came out victorious, winning the race by just 22-thousandths of a second.
In Race 2, Hannes Morin in the sister Audi started from the reversed grid pole and got away well, while Mattias Andersson’s Honda leapt from eighth to second, before he was muscled out by both Dahlgren and Wernersson at Turn 2.
Any hopes that Dahlgren and Wernersson’s battle would resume came to a quick end when a long brake pedal on Wernersson’s Audi saw him spear off at Turn 7 and join dead last.
Dahlgren wasted no time in catching and passing Morin for the lead at the end of the first lap, and began to break away from the fighting rabble behind.
Emerging in second place after a tussle at the hairpin was team-mate Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, who fought her way past Ahlberg’s Volkswagen and Morin’s Audi, and with Andersson out of the way after he was served a jump start penalty.
The PWR Racing driver was soon defending against a recovering Wernersson, and despite a small scare with two laps to go at Turn 10, she managed to hold her own and secure another podium finish, with PWR Racing scoring their second 1-2 of the season, their first since Åhlin-Kottulinsky led Dahlgren at the season opener.
Dahlgren’s victory in Race 2 saw him move back into the lead of the drivers’ standings, after briefly falling behind after Race 1 – with a six-point margin over Wernersson.
Brink Motorsport continue to lead the teams’ standings, but their margin has decreased, now also six points over PWR Racing, heading to the fourth round of the championship at Falkenberg on July 13-14.
Robert Dahlgren, #2 PWR Racing – SEAT Dealer Team Cupra TCR, Race 2 winner and championship leader, said:
“We started off this weekend fantastic, and we had a middle phase where we didn’t do the job properly in qualifying, but to end the weekend like this in front of the crowd, I’m gobsmacked.
“The car I had yesterday and today was always quick enough to do the job, and the race win in the second feels awesome.
“I was reeling Wernersson in Race 1, and I had a big smile as I knew this was just going to be a cracking race. I think we were both a little bit on, or maybe over the limit; he pushed me quite hard, but I pushed him as well, as touring car racing should be.
“It was great to have given this amazing crowd such a show.”
Andreas Wernersson, #4 Brink Motorsport Audi RS 3 LMS, Race 1 winner said:
“In Race 1, there were a tough couple of laps there, especially the last one. (Dahlgren) overtook me on the last lap, he overtook me at Turn 6 after he gave me a push at Turn 5 and I lost my balance. So I was quite mad and I was pretty tough (at the hairpin). I talked to him afterwards and apologised for it, but also said he hadn’t been fair to me, and he agreed.
“I was actually pretty nervous after that, and I made a small mistake in the last corner and he came back at me once again, and he was drag racing me up to the finish line. It was a little too tight that race.
“In Race 2, we discovered the brakes had a leak in the system; we tried to fix it but unfortunately we still had some air in the brake system, and at the first really hard braking zone at Turn 7 there were no brakes at all. I had to take the escape road and lost every position.
Skellefteå Race 1 result
Pos – Driver – Team – Car – Time – Gap
1 – Andreas Wernersson – Brink Motorsport – Audi RS 3 LMS – 11 laps
2 – Robert Dahlgren – PWR Racing – Cupra TCR – 0.022
3 – Andreas Ahlberg – Micke Kågered Racing – Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR – 1.412
4 – Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky – PWR Racing – Cupra TCR – 3.172
5 – Tobias Brink – Brink Motorsport – Audi RS 3 LMS – 6.711
6 – Mattias Andersson – Honda Racing Sweden – Honda Civic Type R FK2 TCR – 9.888
7 – Peter ‘Poker’ Wallenberg – Poker Racing For Charity – Cupra TCR – 37.897
8 – Hannes Morin – Brink Motorsport – Audi RS 3 LMS – DNF
Skellefteå Race 2 result
Pos – Driver – Team – Car – Time – Gap
1 – Robert Dahlgren – PWR Racing – Cupra TCR – 11 laps
2 – Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky – PWR Racing – Cupra TCR – 1.936
3 – Andreas Wernersson – Brink Motorsport – Audi RS 3 LMS – 2.292
4 – Andreas Ahlberg – Micke Kågered Racing – Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR – 2.895
5 – Tobias Brink – Brink Motorsport – Audi RS 3 LMS – 8.754
6 – Hannes Morin – Brink Motorsport – Audi RS 3 LMS – 9.414
7 – Peter ‘Poker’ Wallenberg – Poker Racing For Charity – Cupra TCR – 25.641
8 – Mattias Andersson – Honda Racing Sweden – Honda Civic Type R FK2 TCR – DNF