Tobias Brink took a vital first career pole position at the season finale of the 2019 TCR Scandinavia Touring Car Championship at Mantorp Park, setting a time of 1:19.233 in his Brink Motorsport Audi RS 3 LMS and outqualifying his title rival Robert Dahlgren, to claw back one point in the championship table.
Dahlgren was fastest throughout free practice in his PWR Racing – SEAT Dealer Team Cupra TCR, and would have been an almost-certain call for pole position, however it was clear his rivals had upped the pace, with Honda Racing Sweden’s Mattias Andersson leading the way in Qualifying 1, despite having a scare in practice after his suspension failed in the first test and he had to miss the second as his team ran back to their nearby base for replacements.
The top three in Q1 were separated by just 0.033 seconds, while in Qualifying 2, Dahlgren put down a time of 1:19.346, the fastest of the day so far, but didn’t bet on Brink, who’d aborted his first run for a new set of Yokohama Advan tyres, and soared to pole position with a time of 1:19.233, the first of his touring car racing career.
Dahlgren had to settle for second, while Andersson qualified in third, putting the fast-starting Honda in a position which could see him play a key part in tomorrow’s championship showdown.
Daniel Haglöf, on his championship return, qualified fourth in his PWR Racing – SEAT Dealer Team Cupra, one place ahead of SEAT Dealer Team – PWR Racing’s Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, with Brink Motorsport’s Andreas Wernersson sixth, which means he’ll start from pole position for the reversed grid second race.
Championship hopeful Andreas Ahlberg just missed the top six in his Kågered Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, and will have to hope for trouble up front in order to maintain his title hopes.
Dahlgren’s lead in the drivers’ championship is now down to 20 points, with 50 points available tomorrow, while Dahlgren and Haglöf’s qualifying performance means PWR Racing – SEAT Dealer Team have also reduced the gap in the teams’ championship to Brink Motorsport by a single point to 19 points.
Tobias Brink, #71 Brink Motorsport Audi RS 3 LMS, said:
“In the test we were on really old tyres in FP1, and then in FP2 we planned to go with really good tyres but we had some problems with the brakes so we didn’t really put in a lap at all.
“In Q1, we went out in old tyres just to get two more laps in and feel more confident in what we were doing, and Q1 felt good and then in Q2 I felt that the speed was there. I felt good on the first attempt, but I missed up a the F2 corner and so I came directly in for new tyres, and then went out and put it together.”
Mattias Andersson, #20 Honda Racing Sweden Civic TCR, said:
“Our new suspension arrived 20 minutes before the session, and we just put it on, and it felt OK.
“I decided to do some more laps in Q1 to get back some missing testing from Test 2, and we felt we would make it into Q2. We were quickest by a few hundredths and it felt good.
“In second qualifying, I did a very good lap on my first try, and then we went for another try, but maybe the tyre pressures weren’t perfect or I was pushing too hard, but we were a bit slower. But P3 and P4 on the grid tomorrow is good.”
1 – Tobias Brink – Brink Motorsport – Audi RS 3 LMS – 1:19.233
2 – Robert Dahlgren – PWR Racing – Cupra TCR – 0.113
3 – Mattias Andersson – Honda Racing Sweden – Honda Civic Type R FK2 TCR – 0.156
4 – Daniel Haglöf – PWR Racing – Cupra TCR – 0.378
5 – Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky – PWR Racing – Cupra TCR – 0.451
6 – Andreas Wernersson – Brink Motorsport – Audi RS 3 LMS – 0.465
7 – Andreas Ahlberg – Micke Kågered Racing – Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR – 0.989
8 – Hannes Morin – Brink Motorsport – Audi RS 3 LMS – 1.001
9 – Tomas Engström – Micke Kågered Racing – Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR – 1.085
11 – Albin Wärnelöv – Experion Racing – Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR – 1.354
12 – Kristian Sætheren – Insight Racing – Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce – 2.211
13 – Peter ‘Poker’ Wallenberg – Poker Racing For Charity – Cupra TCR – 3.959