Last year, Volvo's factory-backed Polestar Racing team clinched the title in the Swedish Touring Car Championship. Based on that success, the Swedish outfit elected to bump up its efforts to challenge for the World Touring Car Championship, all the while fighting to defend its national title back home where the Swedish series has merged with the Danish one to form the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship.
This week saw the debuts of both the World and Scandinavian series, the former kicking off at Belgium's Zolder circuit and the latter at the Jyllands-Ringen in nearby Denmark. Volvo Polestar made a strong showing in both with its competition-spec C30.
At Zolder, Polestar/ Volvo landed 13th place in the first race and 7th in the second, scoring its first points in front of 27,000 spectators and a television audience of 45 million. Meanwhile, in Denmark, the team finished on the podium in 2nd and 3rd in the first race but 8th and 13th for the second when the starting grid was reversed, putting the team second in the standings so far.
Polestar continues working on a new turbocharged engine that it figures will account for the difference between its position at Zolder and the leader's. The WTCC heads to Monza in three weeks for the next round, as the STCC heads back to Sweden in one week. Follow the jump for the official press releases.
Volvo Polestar Racing scores first ever WTCC points
Volvo Polestar Racing and Robert Dahlgren scored the first ever points in the FIA World Touring Car Championship at Zolder in Belgium this weekend.
"It was a good race from start to finish. I am proud to have scored the first points for Volvo, we are making good progress every time we hit the track," said Dahlgren.
Dahlgren crossed the line as seventh in the second race after hard fights with drivers from BMW, Chevrolet and SEAT.
"Dahlgren drove really well this weekend and we are continuing to gather invaluable experience. We have had a really good weekend that exceeds our expectations," said Christian Dahl, Manging Director of Volvo Polestar Racing.
The development of the new Volvo Polestar Racing turbo engine continues at home in Gothenburg, Sweden. The engine is set for introduction later this year and is a key part in the continuation of the evaluation season according to Dahl.
"Our simulations clearly show that we lose about eight tenths per lap compared to the turbo engined cars, a time difference that corresponds to the gap that we had to pole position this weekend. We continue to work high in confidence and we are looking forward to the rest of the season," said Dahl.
A total of 27.000 spectators and 45 million TV viewers watched the progress of Volvo Polestar Racing at Zolder despite the easter weekend and glorious spring weather.
WTCC continues at the legendary Italian track Monza in three weeks. Continue to follow Volvo Polestar Racing at http://www.volvopolestarracing.com/.
WTCC - Race 1 - Zolder, Belgien
1 Rob Huff Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
2 Alain Menu Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
3 Yvan Muller Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
4 Gabriele Tarquini SEAT León TDi
5 Tiago Monteiro SEAT León TDi
13 Robert Dahlgren Volvo C30
WTCC - Race 2 - Zolder, Belgien
1 Gabriele Tarquini SEAT León TDi
2 Alain Menu Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
3 Tiago Monteiro SEAT León TDi
4 Darryl O'Young Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
5 Michel Nykjær SEAT León TDi
7 Robert Dahlgren Volvo C30
Double podiums for Volvo Polestar Racing in STCC premiere
The STCC 2011 premiere weekend in Denmark provided a tough start for Volvo Polestar Racing. Hard fights were mixed with a strong qualifying session and double podium finishes for James Thompson and Tommy Rustad.
"I am really pleased to be on the podium with Rustad in my first ever race for Volvo Polestar Racing," said Thompson.
Volvo Polestar Racing dominated the qualifying with Rustad on pole position and Thompson third, just seven hundredths of a second behind his team mate.
"The car was perfect in the qualifying run, we do have a strong package for the rest of the season," said Rustad.
After a strong first race, the second one, featuring reverse grid, turned out to be tough for the two Volvo drivers with hard fights and incidents.
Despite a tough second race, Volvo Polestar Racing currently holds second place in the team championship.
"We have had a good first race weekend. This is the worst track on the calendar for front wheel drive cars. We took important points for the championship and we are in a strong position for the coming races," said Rustad.
The next STCC race takes place at Ring Knutstorp in two weeks. For more information, visit http://www.volvopolestarracing.com/
Drivers Championship - Top 10
1 Johan Stureson BMW 320si 33 points
2 Jason Watt SEAT León 25 points
3 Roger Eriksson SEAT León 25 points
4 Colin Turkington BMW 320si 24 points
5 Rickard Rydell Chevrolet Cruze 22 points
6 James Thompson Volvo C30 DRIVe 19 points
7 Tommy Rustad Volvo C30 DRIVe 18 points
8 Mattias Andersson Alfa Romeo 156 16 points
9 Jan Nilsson BMW 320si 10 points
10 Martin Öhlin BMW 320si 6 points
Team Championship - Top 5
1 MA:GP/IPS 49 points
2 Volvo Polestar Racing 37 points
3 Flash Engineering 34 points
4 Team Bygma 25 points
5 SEAT Dealer Team 22 points