Honda Racing Sweden driver Tomas Engström picked up points in a very testing weekend at Ring Knutstorp, missing all practice and qualifying sessions and having to start from the back of the grid for both races, but grabbing sixth in race two to score what could be crucial championship points.
Engström races with a 2011-spec Honda Civic from Team Dynamics, with engines from Neil Brown Engines, and after a double victory at Östersund he had hauled himself up into the championship battle with Chevrolet and Volkswagen Team Biogas, but a double DNF at Jyllandsringen set events in motion which affected the 48-year-old’s weekend at Knutstorp as well.
“We had a roll in Denmark, and when the engine arrived to the UK they saw on Tuesday there was sand inside the engine and it was not possible to repair,” said Engström to TouringCarTimes. “So they had to send a new engine, and there was some misunderstanding with the freight company. It should have flown by air on Thursday and have been here Friday morning but they missed it, so our guys had to take it in the car and drove all the way.”
Missing all Friday running as well as the warm-up on Saturday morning – with the engine arriving late on Friday evening, Engström took to the circuit for the first time for the first race, and drove up to seventh position before stopping as the engine was overheating. In race two, he repeated the same feat, and seventh became sixth after Volkswagen driver Johan Kristoffersson’s retirement, with Engström picking up eight points in the championship.
Though he’s dropped to five points behind IPS Team Biogas driver Patrik Olsson in the standings, Engström hopes to be able to reclaim fourth place in two weeks’ time at the final round at Solvalla.
“I’m happy that we could finish the second race. In the first race the engine was overheating, and in the second race I had to take it slow. OK, we’re not fighting for the championship anymore but it’s good points to have if we want to secure the fourth position. I’m looking forward to Solvalla, it should be a good race for a Honda.”
“If we hadn’t had this problem with the engine, after the safety car came out and I got back on the rear of the Sciroccos, I think we could have pushed for an even better position. The car is very good, but as the engine was running around 100 degrees I had to back off. And you don’t have the right power when it’s running so hot.”