Reigning champion Thed Björk left the STCC weekend at Knutstorp in the south of Sweden with one victory and championship lead after two chaotic races. ”To claim such a dominating victory and take the championship lead feels amazing,” said Björk.
Björk was fastest in the first qualifying session which meant 25 points to the championship but also tenth place on the grid for the first race due to the reversed grid system. And the first race turned out to be chaotic where Fredrik Ekblom became involved in a major five-car crash.
Linus Ohlsson and Richard Göransson spun at the exit of the fast NGK corner and collected three other cars, including Ekblom who had to retire due to the damage. The damage was so extensive that Ekblom was forced to miss the second race, where he would have started from pole position.
”It is of course incredibly frustrating to be dragged into a crash and then not even being able to take part in the second race, despite an impressive effort from the mechanics. But that’s racing sometimes. There are many points left to fight for though and I am most of all pleased with the speed that we have had all season, I have for example never qualified below second place and been fastest in half of the qualifying sessions,” said Ekblom.
As the dust settled from the crash in the first race, Björk crossed the line in fourth position. Björk started from second on the grid in race two, which effectively became pole position as Ekblom’s gird position was empty. The reigning STCC champion took control of the race and pulled up a gap which he kept over the finishing line.
”The team gave me a perfect car, I was able to take control of the race instantly and then back off to maintain the car. Best of all is that I have taken the championship lead ahead of Solvalla, one of my very favorite tracks,” said Björk.
Prince Carl Philip managed, just as Björk, to avoid the chaos of both races and secured his best ever STCC weekend with seventh in the first race and sixth position in the second race.
”I am really pleased with the result from this weekend. There were for sure many that retired, but I have taken vital steps forward in terms of speed and I had a good fight with Emma Kimiläinen in the second race whom I managed to keep behind me,” said Prince Carl Philip.
Two STCC weekends with two heats each remains of this season and a total of 150 points. Björk leads with four points over BMW driver Fredrik Larsson while Ekblom is third, 28 points behind Björk.
”We have had two incredibly exciting races at Kntustorp where Fredrik Ekblom unfortunately became an innocent victim, despite him being fastest in qualifying. The positive points are of course the results of Prince Carl Philip and Thed Björk. The championship top is really close and the season end is no doubt going to be a nail-biter,” said Derek Crabb, Motorsport Director of Volvo Cars.
Results Race 1 – Top 5
1 Philip Forsman BMW SR 20 varv
2 Erik Jonsson BMW SR +4.871
3 Andreas Wernersson Kia Optima +6.240
4 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +6.354
5 Mattias Lindberg Kia Optima +6.501
7 Carl Philip Bernadotte Volvo S60 +8.205
DNF Fredrik Ekblom Volvo S60
Results Race 2 – Top 5
1 Thed Björk Volvo S60 20 varv
2 Fredrik Larsson BMW SR +2.618
3 Mattias Lindberg Kia Optima +3.243
4 Philip Forsman BMW SR +3.412
5 Andreas Wernersson Kia Optima +5.228
6 Carl Philip Bernadotte Volvo S60 +11.984
DNS Fredrik Ekblom Volvo S60
Q1 – Top 5
1 Thed Björk Volvo S60 57.665
2 Fredrik Ekblom Volvo S60 +0.005
3 Fredrik Larsson BMW SR +0.232
4 Mattias Andersson Dacia SE +0.454
5 Linus Ohlsson Kia Optima +0.523
12 Carl Philip Bernadotte Volvo S60 +1.498
Q2 – Top 5
1 Fredrik Ekblom Volvo S60 57.726
2 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +0.170
3 Fredrik Larsson BMW SR +0.191
4 Mattias Andersson Dacia SE +0.697
5 Richard Göransson Saab 9-3 +0.755
12 Carl Philip Bernadotte Volvo S60
STCC Kvällsposten Newsrace Knutstorp
Length: 2079 m
Lap record (STCC): 0:58.364, Fredrik Ekblom (2013)
Live at www.svtplay.se
Highlights in SVT2 21:15 Saturday 23/8
2014 STCC Calendar
20/09 Mantorp Park
Championship standings - Top 10
1 Thed Björk Volvo S60 171 points
2 Fredrik Larsson BMW SR 168 (-3)
3 Fredrik Ekblom Volvo S60 143 (-28)
4 Mattias Andersson Dacia SE 110 (-61)
5 Richard Göransson Saab 9-3 102 (-69)
6 Philip Forsman BMW SR 100 (-71)
7 Mattias Lindberg Kia Optima 98 (-73)
8 Linus Ohlsson Kia Optima 89 (-82)
9 Erik Jonsson BMW SR 79 (-92)
10 Andreas Wernersson Kia Optima 52 (-119)
13 Carl Philip Bernadotte Volvo S60 18 (-153)
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