Arkiv: STCC

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

Results
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.

Results
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

Results
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

Lestrup Racing Team and Rob Huff part company

Lestrup Racing Team and Rob Huff have announced a joint decision to part company ahead of the 2021 STCC TCR Scandinavia season.

The Brit joined the team ahead of last year and enjoyed a successful debut season in the series, claiming the drivers’ title with two wins and nine podium finishes, as well as securing the teams’ title alongside team-mate Oliver Söderström.

For 2021 Huff will race for Cupra and Zengo Motorsport in the FIA World Touring Car Cup, a season that clashes twice with the STCC.

“We had a great 2020 season with Rob, securing our first two STCC titles together,” said Fredrik Lestrup, co-owner of Lestrup Racing Team.

“His contribution to the team has been great and we are sad to part ways with him for 2021. We do however understand him wanting to try and become world champion again in the WTCR with Cupra. We wish him the best of luck this season and hope that new opportunities to cooperate again will come in the future.”

Reigning STCC champion Rob Huff added: “I had an awesome season with Lestrup Racing Team last year that really re-sparked my love and passion for motorsport. I want to extend a big thank you to Fredrik and everyone in the team for last year, and that we have been able to find a solution that suits us all for 2021. I wish them the very best for the coming season and I’m sure they can find their way to the top step again.”

Lestrup Racing Team will field three Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR race cars in the 2021 STCC TCR Scandinavia season opener for drivers Oliver Söderström, Mikael Karlsson and Robin Knutsson.

“With just two weeks left until the season start, we have decided to focus all of our efforts on our three cars for the first race weekend,” said Fredrik Lestrup.

“We are working on a solution for our fourth car for the remaining races and further information will be released in due course. Regardless of what happens with that car, we remain confident that – just like last year – we will be able to challenge for the top three positions in the championship.”

Lestrup Racing Team completes more than 1000 laps in successful STCC pre-season testing

The four drivers of Lestrup Racing Team have completed more than 1000 laps over four days of successful but challenging official STCC TCR Scandinavia pre-season test days at Knutstorp and Ljungbyhed in Sweden.

“This has certainly been a baptism of fire for our first outing with our expanded four-car team with torrential rain, crashes but most importantly – plenty of test laps,” said team co-owner Fredrik Lestrup.

“Everyone has performed really well and while it was a shame that Robin’s test got cut short after his crash, he showed promising pace, as did Rob, Oliver and Mikael.”

Oliver Söderström topped the first test day at Knutstorp, the only day held in dry conditions.

“It has been four intense days that have been really positive. I had the pace in dry conditions straight away, while I had more to work on in the wet. So it has been really rewarding to get three days in wet conditions and I felt much more comfortable at the end of the final day,” said Oliver Söderström.

Reigning STCC champion Rob Huff was right at the top of all four test days, his first outing in the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR since the season finale at Knutstorp last year.

“It’s been four quite positive and good days, just nice to get back in the car again. We have learned a lot and got to test what we wanted, getting the answers we wanted. Now we obviously need to get everything ready for the season opener,” said Rob Huff.

Mikael Karlsson got his first laps with the team and was feeling buoyant after the four days of tough testing.

“We have gained a lot of valuable data and it has really been a different feeling in the car with different settings compared to what I drove last year. I’ve never driven quicker around Knutstorp than I did during the dry first test day. The feeling is good ahead of our coming challenges,” said Mikael Karlsson.

Robin Knutsson, who will make his STCC debut for the team this year, showed promising form during the first two days at Knutstorp while his test at Ljungbyhed was cut short following a high-speed off.

“It was a hard hit, but I feel ok and everything looked good at the hospital check-up. A huge thanks to everyone in the rescue staff and the team for their efforts. I’m really keen to get going again and I am happy that we got so many laps during the first days. It feels like we have taken big steps forward already,” said Robin Knutsson.

Next up for Lestrup Racing Team is the STCC TCR Scandinavia season opener at Ljungbyhed on June 4-5.

Results – Knutstorp – Test 1
Results – Knutstorp – Test 2
Results – Knutstorp – Test 3
Results – Ljungbyhed – Test 1
Results – Ljungbyhed – Test 2
Results – Ljungbyhed – Test 3

STCC champions Lestrup Racing Team unveils 2021 colours

Reigning STCC TCR Scandinavia champions Lestrup Racing Team have unveiled new colours for the 2021 season, just as the teams have started the first official pre-season tests at Ring Knutstorp in southern Sweden today.

“We have made an evolution of our design that we are really pleased with and we are all set for the pre-season testing this week,” said Fredrik Lestrup, co-owner of Lestrup Racing Team.

Lestrup Racing Team will expand from two to four Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR race cars for this season for drivers Rob Huff, Oliver Söderström, Mikael Karlsson and Robin Knutsson.

The official pre-season testing starts today with two days at Ring Knutstorp in southern Sweden, followed by two days at Ljungbyhed Park, the same circuit where the season premiere will take place on June 4-5.