Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky makes STCC history
Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky finished a stunning STCC season with her second win and one more podium. She is the first ever female driver to finish in the Top3 in the championship standings.
The champion was already crowned - but behind 2021 champion Robert Dahlgren, the battle for the vice champion title was the main talking point of the last STCC round of the season.
In the three races contested at Ring Knutstorp, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Thomas Brink were head to head in the points: for the Swedish lady, it was a matter of writing history, as she would have been the first woman to finish a STCC season in the top three of the championship standings. Mathematically, Oliver Söderstrom who also in contention for the runner up spot, 27 points behind Åhlin-Kottulinsky.
And it was Söderström who was fastest in the first practice session, ahead of Brink, while Åhlin-Kottulinsky followed in sixth place. Mikaela showed her pace in the second practice and finished second fastest behind teammate Dahlgren and ahead of Brink.
The qualifying session proved once again how close and competitive the championship was, with Dahlgren scoring both pole positions and Mikaela finishing Q1 in P2 and Q2 in P3 - the opposite of Brink, third and second in the two sessions. Söderström was 4th fastest throughout.
"Qualifying ended with a P2 and P3 in the books after a tight Q1 and Q2! Very happy with the result and excited for tomorrow."
Åhlin-Kottulinsky had a great start, passed her teammate and led the pack for the entire race. Behind them, Brink and Söderström had no chance to catch up with the PWR Racing duo and all four finished in this order for the first race of the weekend. Mikaela scored her second victory this season to extend her points lead ahead of Brink and Söderström.
Race 2 marked another vistory for series champion Dahlgren, as he led from start to finish line. But behind him, Brink and Åhlin-Kottulinsky battled hard for second place. Brink, who started second, lost the place to Mikaela at the start - continued to put pressure on the young Swedish woman, but wasn't able to pass her before the chequered flag. She led with a 17 point advantage on Brink and with over 20 points still available ahead of the final race of the weekend and of the 2021 season.
Race 3 started with a reversed grid and Magnus Gustavsen lined up on pole. Mikael Karlsson, though, got the better start and led the field into the first corner. Behind them, Brink was forced to battle hard again Gustavsen, but was finally able to pass him. He was faster to overtake Nerman as well and followed Karlsson in the lead - but found no way around the race leader.
Karlsson took victory with a 0,725 second gap from Brink and Nerman. Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinski had to deal with technical issues during the race and only finished ninth, but scored enough points to become runner-up in the championship and wrote history with this result. She is the first ever female to finish a STCC season inside the top-3 of the championship and continues her success in the series after becoming the first ever woman to win a race in the Scandinavian premier racing series.
"Silver in the Swedish Championship, STCC. Tears streamed down my face when we crossed the finish line for the last time in STCC this year.
I’m beyond thankful for this team and for what we have achieved together this year! You guys are amazing and I can’t thank you enough for this season!"
We will see Kottulinsky back next year with PWR Racing - as the first woman race winner in the series now aims to become the first female champion.