Robert Dahlgren is the longest contracted factory Volvo driver ever, starting his 13th year in 2016 when he returns to the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship with Polestar Cyan Racing. Join us as we ask him ten questions about the coming season.
Will it be a big adjustment coming back to the STCC after racing in the 2014 V8 Supercars and spending last year developing cars?
”It is going to be a big change, but the biggest change was for me last year to not race. But the year off from racing just makes me more motivated than ever to race again!”
How are you preparing for your STCC return?
”I am driving a simulator every day. I exercise at least five times a week, between 30 to 40 hours a week. I mix running, skiing and strength training at the gym.”
How would you describe the STCC car is to drive?
”It is a really good race car, but driving really fast in it is not easy. The behaviour pattern of the car in different types of grip level makes it difficult to find the balance, especially as we have limited testing opportunities.”
How do you perform a fast start with the STCC car as it is rear-wheel driven and has got a lot of power?
”I can tell you the secrets after the season finale. But jokes aside, the basics of it is quite similar no matter which type of car you drive. It is about finding the sweet spot of the clutch and minimise wheel spin.”
You have the record of most pole positions ever in the STCC, what is your secret to your qualifying speed?
”I just love the qualifying setup and I look forward to it each race weekend. It is the very heart of why we are racing, to drive as fast as possible. I am very meticulous as a person and getting a lap just right in qualifying is about remembering all specific details on how to drive as fast as possible through specific corners.”
You have commitments with the WTCC development programme alongside your STCC programme, how will you go about that?
”I intend to give my very best and to contribute as much as possible to the development of the car. This enables me to continue working with people that I really like and the tests are so important in the first phase of a new racing programme, all details matter. I do look forward to that, it is an incredibly fun car to drive.”
Who do you think will be your toughest competitor in the STCC this year?
”I think everyone in the field will be a tough competitor as all of them can affect your championship result. It is going to be just as tough as always.”
What will be your strategy for the reversed grid races?
”There are some things that you can affect and some things you can’t. It is about taking smart decisions. You won’t win a championship by just standing back, you need to get in there and be on the edge all the time. You need to go for victory on all chances you get.”
Which circuit are you looking forward to the most this year?
”The Skövde airport circuit. I have never been there before and I am looking forward to drive it. I love to learn new circuits. The race was really eventful there last year as well and I hope for some proper racing again.”
What is your goal with the 2016 STCC season?
”To win it all.”