STCC: Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky scores three Podiums at Gelleråsen
Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky had one of her best weekends in STCC so far: she topped official testing and scored three podiums at Gelleråsen. Mikaela is now second in the championship standings, as PWR Racing extended the team championship's lead.
The premiere Scandinavian motor racing championship STCC was back in action at Gelleråsen for its third race weekend of the 2021 season and Robert Dahlgren was again on the hunt: the Swede won four out of the opening six races of the season so far. If Dahlgren is the driver to beat, his teammate Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky surely shouldn't be counted off for the championship fight in the second half of the season.
Kottulinsky's great weekend started with two impressive test days ahead of the Gelleråsen round. On the first day, she was second, merely 0,136 seconds behind the session leader Oliver Söderström, while Dahlgren was forced to sit out most of the day because of a suspension issue. But the second day of testing turned out to be even better, as the young Swedish lady topped the timing sheets with her teammate Dahlgren in second. He had managed to complete 5 laps until technical issues hit him again.
In the qualifying session, Dahlgren was back on top and scored both pole positions for the upcoming races and clinched the qualifying lap record. Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky proved that she had great pace as well and qualified P3 and P2 for the races on Sunday.
Dahlgren defended his lead at the start of Race 1, as Mikaela made a great start, recovered from third to second and followed her teammate throughout the race.
Behind the two PWR Racing drivers, Mikael Karlsson dropped down the order and battled with Söderström for position - also making contact as Söderström passed Karlsson. Hugo Nerman tried to overtake Karlsson as well, but he was pushed wide and dropped down.
Söderström and Mattias Andersson fought for the final podium spot in the first race of the weekend, but as Söderström attempted a move, they made contact and Andersson spun and was forced to retire. Söderström was able to continue but had dropped down to 9th.
Dahlgren won unchallenged, ahead of Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Karlsson - third, 13 seconds behind. After the race Karlsson was handed a 7,4 second penalty because of unfair driving, which promoted Nerman to third.
In Race 2, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky again had a great start, but wasn't able to pass Dahlgren and followed him again during the whole race to another 1-2 finish for PWR Racing. In third place, Söderström took the chequered flag in a rather uneventful second race of the weekend.
Race 3 started with a reversed grid that saw Tobias Brink on pole position, but his slow start allowed Kevin Engman to move into the lead of the race ahead of Nerman. Söderström stalled at the start and dropped back towards the tail-end of the field.
But the drama wasn't over, as Albin Wärnelöv and Rasmus Hedberg made contact on the first lap - with Hedberg going off track. Nevertheless, he was able to rejoin the race.
Kottulinsky continued her strong weekend: starting from the seventh position, she passed one car after the other and finished third - securing another podium to round out one of her best overall weekends in STCC so far.
After two victories for Dahlgren, it was Engman to take the third win of the weekend, ahead of Brink and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky.
"So extremely happy for the results during this race weekend! We managed a podium in every race and a great qualification. Not least, the incredible work from the team."
After one of her strongest weekends so far, Mikaela jumped from 4th to 2nd in the driver championship standings, 49 points behind Dahlgren.
"It feels great, I am super happy about the run-up in the last race. I had my eyes set on second place, but did not want to risk too much after driving up so many places." - she commented. "Climbing to second place in the championship is really fun. The team has given me good conditions that have made this possible and a big thanks to them." - concluded Kottulinsky.
The next STCC weekend will take place from 4th to 5th September at Anderstop, but the Swedish racer will face a back to back racing commitment as she will compete in the upcoming Extreme E event in Greenland, for the Arctic X Prix this weekend.