ENGSTROM SMILES AGAIN!
The Seventh round of the STC Championship took place at Gellerasen Karlskoga circuit.
Once again Tomas Engstrom and his Honda Accord Euro R FIA Super 2000 were top contenders of the STCC race, and they would have deserved a much better final result
Qualifying -- Super pole
"I felt that the podium was our target from the very start."said Tomas "We had a brand new engine from JAS Motorsport and, thanks to that, the car was amazingly fast. Moreover, we quickly found the right balance and settings. P3 and P4 in free practice using old tyres, and P1 in warm-up with with new ones, which was very encouraging for Qualifying.
During the first lap of Qualifying, Tomas was unpleasantly surprised to discover that the 6th gear wasn't working. It was a Team mistake, which was forced to change ratios in the pressure of time.
"I knew I could make pole and when I became aware of this problem, I vowed not to let it ruin my race! I pushed my Honda Accord to the limit using only five gears and finished in a fantastic 5th place, which meant I had qualified for the Super Pole session."
Super Pole also had to be run with no sixth gear.
"I still felt we could do better. The settings were perfect and with such a well balanced car, I really believed I had a chance. I did a perfect lap (except in the straight, when I really missed not having a sixth gear) and got second place! I was very happy but, at the same time, very frustrated to be so close to pole".
Tomas made a good start. He even led the race for a few metres.
"I was on the outside line so on the first corner I had no choice other than to let T.Bjork's Audi and Rosenblad overtake me on the inside."explained Tomas "Nevertheless, I passed Bjork on the next bend and was easily tracking Rosenblad's BMW. We were increasing the distance back to the next car: I thought it was too risky to overtake him and decided to wait for the pit stop".
The sky was getting darker and darker, but still no rain. In lap 19, Tomas came into the pits to change his front tyres, but the pit stop was too slow and the Honda driver lost 11 seconds.
"I was mad but that wasn't all. After only two laps it started raining. What bad luck!
Despite everything, I was still in contact with the other cars using wet tyres, and that is why, along with my team, I decided to stay on the track without changing tyres".
With just a few laps to go Tomas slipped off the track, losing another 10 seconds and 2 positions.
"Back on the circuit, I managed to get a place on the podium but it was impossible to pass the 2 BMWs (with wet tyres) in front of me and I finished in 4th position.
I am happy with my race but still think about how much better it could have been without so many problems!"
Engstrom Motorsport has jumped to 5th place in the Championship classification, and to 4th place in the Manufacturers' Championship.