Lestrup Racing Team endures tough but promising Skellefteå weekend

Lestrup Racing Team drivers Oliver Söderström, Mikael Karlsson and Robin Knutsson all endured a tough but promising STCC TCR Scandinavia weekend under the midnight sun race at Skellefteå Drivecenter Arena.

”This has certainly been a trying weekend for everyone involved, fighting crashes, technical issues and torrential rain. Despite all this, we are not leaving the weekend empty handed. We are going to use the summer break to get back even stronger for the final half of the season,” said Fredrik Lestrup, team co-owner.

Oliver Söderström was forced to retire from the first race due to a broken driveshaft but bounced back with a fourth and fifth place finish in the final two races – setting the fastest lap of the second race.

”The toughest part of this weekend was the retirement and zero points of race one. But after the repairs, the car felt completely different and we were quicker than Dahlgren who won the second race. That’s what I’m bringing with me to the next race where we will be back stronger,” said Oliver Söderström.

Mikael Karlsson scored his so far best result for Lestrup Racing Team with fourth in the first race but was hit hard from behind in the third race, with his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR sustaining a lot of damage.

The big impact saw Mikael Karlsson heading to a hospital routine check up after the race.

”We hade some technical issues this weekend unfortunately. Then I was hit so hard from behind in the third race and I had to spend three hours at the Skellefteå hospital. I’m ok fortunately and a huge thanks to the team for their efforts this weekend. Fourth in the first race is something I am really pleased with. Now I’m looking forward to my home race at Gelleråsen where I hope to score a lot of points,” said Mikael Karlsson.

STCC newcomer Robin Knutsson continued his impressive form of finishing in the top ten of all races so far.

”It was an eventful weekend with almost all types of challenges thrown at us. I am really pleased to have scored points in all three races and I can’t wait until we go racing again,” said Robin Knutsson.

Oliver Söderström is placed fifth in the drivers’ championship and leads the junior championship, while the team keeps second position in the teams’ championship, 66 points from PWR Racing.

The STCC heads into its summer break, resuming action on August 21-22 at Gelleråsen Arena.

Race 1
Race 2
Race 3

STCC TCR Scandinavia 2021 – Points
1 Robert Dahlgren 122 points
2 Tobias Brink 83 points
3 Mattias Andersson 81 points
4 Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky 76 points
5 Oliver Söderström 67 points
6 Andreas Ahlberg 65 points
7 Mikael Karlsson 58 points
8 Hugo Nerman 46 points
9 Isac Aronsson 42 points
10 Hannes Morin 41 points
11 Robin Knutsson 33 points
12 Rasmus Hedberg 25 points
13 Albin Wärnelöv 25 points

1 CUPRA Dealer Team – PWR Racing 198 points
2 Lestrup Racing Team by VW Sthlm 132 points
3 Brink Motorsport 124 points
4 Kågered Racing 112 points
5 MA:GP 81 points
6 Brovallen Design 42 points
7 FH Racing 25 points
8 Experion Racing 25 points

1 Oliver Söderström 65 points
2 Hugo Nerman 46 points
3 Isac Aronsson 42 points
4 Hannes Morin 40 points
5 Robin Knutsson 33 points
6 Rasmus Hedberg 25 points

Mikael Karlsson shines in Skellefteå qualifying as the team races against time

Mikael Karlsson continued his strong form in the twilight STCC TCR Scandinavia qualifying session at Skellefteå with a pair of fourth place finishes – his so far best result. Lestrup Racing Team meanwhile raced against time to get Oliver Söderström back on track after a technical issue.

”It felt great to finally get everything together! A massive thanks to the team that has coached me to this level and provided me with a perfect car. Now it’s time to reload and get ready for three intense races tomorrow,” said Mikael Karlsson.

Oliver Söderström’s first qualifying session ended abruptly as a driveshaft broke on the out lap. This forced the team to a race against time to repair his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR before the end of the session.

The team only just managed to get the car together and enabled Oliver Söderström to finish seventh and make it onto the final Q2 session.

”An unbelievable effort by the team to get me back out again. Then how I managed to get that lap together to make it onto Q1, I do not know. I was sliding all over the place in almost all of the corners. Then there was something not quite right for the Q2 session that we have to analyze for tomorrow. We need to try and bounce back in the races,” said Oliver Söderström.

Robin Knutsson secured yet another solid top ten finish in what is his first ever visit to the 4.1km circuit in northern Sweden.

”I am pleased with the progress we have made today. There are a lot of impressions for me to digest ahead of tomorrow and I hope that we can take another step forward in the races,” said Robin Knutsson.

The first race of three starts at 14:50 CEST tomorrow and is broadcast LIVE on: plus.stcc.se

Qualifying 1
Qualifying 2

Lestrup Racing Team heads into the twilight for STCC round two

Lestrup Racing Team heads to the north of Sweden and Skellefteå to race under the midnight sun for round two of the 2021 STCC TCR Scandinavia season.

”We need to play our cards right this weekend. We’re racing on a circuit that we struggled on last year and we need to claw back points in the standings,” said Fredrik Lestrup, team co-owner.

”But we are working methodically and have taken vital steps forward with our cars compared to last year. We are quietly confident of being able to give our main rivals a good run for their money this weekend, just as we did in the first race two weeks ago.”

Oliver Söderström heads to the race weekend sharing second place in the standings with Tobias Brink, 17 points from points leader Robert Dahlgren.

”We know that Skellefteå isn’t the best circuit for our Volkswagen Golf GTI TCRs, but we have analysed the data from last year and know that there is a lot of room for improvement – this motivates me strongly,” said Oliver Söderström.

”If we can put all of this together, I’m confident our chances are much better this year. This is one of the best circuits on the calendar and I’m really pumped ahead of the weekend.”

Team-mate Mikael Karlsson claimed his maiden STCC victory at Skellefteå last year and is aiming to return to the top step this weekend.

”It’s going to be exciting to see where we will stand this weekend as I’ve got a much better feeling for this circuit compared to the Ljungbyhed season opener,” said Mikael Karlsson.

”I’m aiming for a victory and one that isn’t from a reversed grid race like last year. We have plenty of things to test ahead of the races and I’d say we’re in a pretty good position.”

Robin Knutsson has never before raced at Skellefteå and is hoping to pick up on his strong STCC debut two weeks ago where he finished in the top ten in the first two races.

”The track looks awesome and it’s going to be really interesting to see how we will fare this weekend. I have no outright ambitions in terms of positions, but rather to improve for each session that we drive – just like we did at Ljungbyhed,” said Robin Knutsson.

The STCC weekend at Skellefteå Drivecenter Arena starts on Friday with testing and qualifying, followed by three races on Saturday – all broadcast LIVE on: plus.stcc.se

Schedule – Skellefteå
Friday 18/6
11:40 – Test 1
15:00 – Test 2
20:20 – Q1
20:50 – Q2

Saturday 19/6
14:50 – Race 1
16:40 – Race 2
20:40 – Race 3

Solid points haul in eventful STCC opener at Ljungbyhed

Lestrup Racing Team drivers Oliver Söderström, Mikael Karlsson and Robin Knutsson endured an eventful STCC TCR Scandinavia opener at Ljungbyhed but managed to secure a solid points haul.

Oliver Söderström finished on the podium in the first of three the races, with two further fourth place-finishes to leave the weekend placed second overall.

”It has been a good weekend that I feel rather pleased with, especially as we anticipated that this circuit would not really suit our car. I think we could have fought for a win if it hadn’t been for the start light issues in the third race. But I managed to fight back and we have shown that we have proper race pace. We still lack some in qualifying that we need to improve, but I am confident that we can do that in the coming races,” said Oliver Söderström.

Team-mate Mikael Karlsson was right in the thick of the action, finishing fifth in the second race as his best result.

”I am happy with the speed that we have, it feels like we are not far from taking further steps up the result list. It’s great to work with such a professional team for the first time in my career,” said Mikael Karlsson.

Robin Knutsson made his STCC debut for Lestrup Racing Team this weekend and took a proper leap forward from qualifying to the races. The 19-year-old finished in the top ten of the first two races while he was forced to retire due to a start incident in the third race.

”This result was definitely over my expectations. This is my first proper race weekend since I took the step from gokart to racing and the difference isn’t as big as I thought. We managed to score points which was our target and I really look forward to the next race weekend where I think we can do even better,” said Robin Knutsson.

Lestrup Racing Team heads to the next race in Skellefteå (June 18-19) placed second in the teams’ championship.

”We had hoped for better results and we had more speed than what we managed to materialise result-wise. Oliver drove consistently, aggressively and is in the top fight – where he should be. Mikael has a lot of potential but had some bad luck this weekend. I am impressed over the steps Robin have taken. This bodes well for the coming races and we know that we can improve from what we have achieved this weekend,” said Fredrik Lestrup, team co-owner.

Race 1
Race 2
Race 3

Lestrup Racing Team breaks into the top five of Ljungbyhed qualifying

Lestrup Racing Team drivers Oliver Söderström and Mikael Karlsson broke into the top five in the first STCC TCR Scandinavia qualifying of 2021 at Ljungbyhed.

Oliver Söderström will start from fourth on the grid in the first two races but believes there was more to give.

”To be the best Volkswagen driver in qualifying feels ok, but I obviously wanted to finish higher up. I could have finished better in Q2, but I was hindered by Mattias Andersson and I’m rather frustrated. But I still think we have a good position for tomorrow and the car felt amazing,” said Oliver Söderström.

Mikael Karlsson claimed a personal best qualifying result with fifth in the second session, despite going off track briefly.

”We made some adjustments that didn’t work and then I made a mistake, went off track and damaged the car. But we made some adjustments for Q2 that worked and P5 is okay. I have to be happy and I think there is more left in both me and the car,” said Mikael Karlsson.

STCC newcomer Robin Knutsson, who crashed heavily at Ljungbyhed during the pre-season testing, was back on track and finished 12th overall.

”We keep taking steps forward from testing earlier today and it’s all about getting more laps and experience for me. This was my first STCC qualifying ever and I didn’t have any expectations. But I feel no pressure and we keep making progress slowly but surely,” said Robin Knutsson.

The first race of three starts at 10:50 CEST tomorrow and is broadcast LIVE on: plus.stcc.se

Qualifying 1
Qualifying 2

The 2021 STCC title defense starts this weekend at Ljungbyhed

Lestrup Racing Team will start the 2021 STCC TCR Scandinavia season this weekend at Ljungbyhed as the reigning drivers’ and teams’ champions.

”We are ready and our goal for this season is unchanged from last year – to stand on the very top step of the standings when the dust settles after the season finale in October,” said Fredrik Lestrup, team co-owner.

The team faces a challenging first race weekend at Ljungbyhed, a completely new circuit for everyone in the team. The pre-season test was held at Ljungbyhed but in very wet conditions in bright contrast to this weekend’s dry and sunny weather forecast.

All eyes are on Oliver Söderström after his now former team-mate and reigning STCC champion Rob Huff was drafted for the FIA World Touring Car Cup just two weeks ago by Cupra team Zengo Motorsport.

The 22-year-old Swede heads to the first race of 2021 behind the wheel of his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR following a promising 2020 season where he won the first race.

”There is no hiding in that Rob played a big part both as my team-mate but also as a rival on the track. But I feel no pressure. I want to win this year and it feels natural keeping last year’s season in mind. It’s going to be a tight season, but we’ve got just as good resources as last year and I feel really confident,” said Oliver Söderström.

Oliver Söderström’s new team-mate Mikael Karlsson, who made his STCC debut last year, impressed during his first run with Lestrup Racing Team during the official pre-season testing.

”We’ve had a solid pre-season and I feel right at home with the team. I have high goals personally for this season, but I know that we have an even tougher field this year compared to last. The main thing will be to claw into the top five and score points consistently,” said Mikael Karlsson.

Robin Knutsson, who is new to the team as well, had a baptism of fire during the pre-season testing, crashing heavily at Ljungbyhed in the pouring rain. The car has been repaired since then and the 19-year-old is raring to get going.

”It was a big crash, but the only thing I could think of after the crash was when I could get back behind the wheel again. We had made really good progress prior to that and I am confident that we can continue building strongly on that as the season progresses. My goal for this season is to learn as much as possible and build experience. If I can match my team-mates on speed, I will be very happy,” said Robin Knutsson.

Lestrup Racing Team will face a field of 13 drivers from eight teams that represent five manufacturers.

Follow the races LIVE via STCC+ this weekend: plus.stcc.se

Schedule – Ljungbyhed
Friday 4/6
09:35 – Test 1
13:45 – Test 2
16:59 – Qualifying Q1
17:20 – Qualifying Q2

Saturday 5/6
10:50 – Race 1
13:45 – Race 2
16:50 – Race 3