Three female drivers at the start of Formula Nordic
Updated: May 9
The first round of the 2023 Formula Nordic season went underway at Mantorp Park, Sweden, with three female drivers on the grid: Emma Wigroth was close to a podium finish in race 1, Carita Otterstrøm made good progress over the weekend and Lilo Fyrileiv, who collected important experience during the sessions.
Formula Nordic started its 2023 racing season with a growing female presence of three racers out of a 12 car field at the season opener, held at Sweden's Mantorp Park. It is the biggest field since the premier season 10 years ago for the series that features Formula 4-like cars and aims at developing young Scandinavian talents.
Emma Wigroth, a Swedish racing driver, already made history last year when she became the first ever female driver to win a race in Formula Nordic. The young Swede was a participant in the FIA WIM Rising Stars shoot-out in 2021 and now enters her second season in the Scandinavian racing series.
Carita Otterstrøm made her debut this weekend in Formula Nordic but has plenty of experience behind the wheel and was the winner of the Girl Power Cup in karting in 2021. Last year she competed in Formula Ford where she finished second.
Norwegian driver Lilo Fyrileiv progressed from karting to open-wheel cars this season and is ready to contest a learning year with the support of RPC-Motorsport, where teams up with Carita and Christer Otterstrøm.
At the first round of the season, Linus Granfors was fastest in qualifying, ahead of Oscar Pedersen and Christer Otterstrøm. His sister Carita followed in 6th place, the best placed of the female drivers. Emma Wigroth would start from P8, while Lilo Fyrileiv set the 10th fastest time.
Race 1 started with a misunderstanding: Pedersen wasn't prepared for the race start and Granfors led the field into the first lap, with a great start from Jonathan Engström who made up from fourth to second position. But there was more drama after the mid-race point, as something broke on his car and he was forced to retire from the race.
Granfors won ahead of Pedersen - who made it all the way up the order again - and Olav Vaa. Carita Otterstrøm had a great race and finished in P4, just close outside the podium positions and right ahead of Emma Wigroth. Lilo Fyrileiv finished after a clean race in eighth.
Race 2 was another dominant race by Granfors, who led from start to the Safety Car - which was deployed after a spin from Fyrileiv that put her single seater deep into the gravel. The time clocked down while the marshalls tried to get her out of the gravel trap, until the race went back to green.
Granfors had a perfect restart, pulled away and won the race with a new lap record ahead of Engström and Pedersen.
Emma Wigroth was doing well during the race, always in proximity of the leading group, but she lost the car on the last lap and got stranded in the gravel trap. She was ranked eleventh. Carita Otterstrøm finished P6.
Race 3 started with a reversed grid which set Carita Otterstrøm on pole position, ahead of Daniel Varverud. Unfortunately, she lost positions at the start but kept her cool to remain within the front-running cars and behind her brother. Varverud led the field ahead of Engström and Christer Otterstrøm.
Granfors again had the best start of the race award, having started from sixth and made all the way up to the lead with nothing Varverud could do, without losing more positions at the last lap of the race. Granfors won again while Engström and Otterstrøm made contact, which got Engström out of the podium positions. Otterstrøm finished second ahead of Varverud.
With a solid race, Emma Wigroth finished P6.
"My race weekend here at Mantorp didn’t really go the way I wanted with a poor qualifying and then a DNF in race 2 after running P5 due to losing my brakes on the last lap", Wigroth told us. "My team did a mega job and got the car ready for race 3, where I finished P6.
In race 1 I finished P5 and overall we showed that we have the speed to be fighting in the top 5", she added. "We did some good racing on track so I will have to be quite satisfied with that."
Right behind was Carita Otterstrøm in P7.
"The first race ended with P4, but I was P3 almost the whole race except on the last lap that ended with an incident", she summed up. "I really wished I could get that P3 but I just have to move on and focus on the next race", Otterstrøm stated.
"Race 2 ended with a P6 which was an ok-ish result and the pace got faster for each round", she added. "Race 3 ended with a P7 which again was an ok-ish result but really wished to be top 5 that race. After all this was really fun and I learned a lot. Now I’m looking forward to the next race which will be a new opportunity."
Lilo Fyrileiv took the chequered flag in ninth place.
"The weekend at Mantorp was okay", she told us, "I am happy with the results as it was my first race in Nordic."
"It was also my first race ever without my father, which was a bit weird, but I tried my best! Now Im just looking forward to the next race at Anderstorp!"
The next event will take place from 12th to 13th May, in conjunction with the Danish F4 races at Anderstorp.