Lestrup Racing says PWR Racing ”afraid to lose” amid STCC legal debacle
Lestrup Racing Team owner Fredrik Lestrup has questioned the intentions of rival STCC TCR Scandinavia squad PWR Racing as the legal wave surrounding championship leader Robert Dahlgren remains the main talking point leading into the last day of the season at Mantorp Park.
The saga revolves around Dahlgren’s initial disqualification from Race 1 at the Skellefteå round earlier this year, where the triple STCC champion was stripped of victory after his PWR Racing Cupra failed a subsequent ride height test. This was despite the team arguing that a damaged splitter had caused the car to sit too low.
In a late twist to the story, the Swedish Motorsport Federation (SBF) then announced on Thursday – on the eve of the season finale – that Dahlgren’s disqualification had been rescinded for now following an appeal from PWR Racing that argued Dahlgren had not been properly heard by the SBF’s Disciplinary Committee.
The matter has now been referred back to the Disciplinary Committee while it hears from Dahlgren, and a final decision on where the potentially crucial 20 championship points will eventually end up is yet to be made.
Lestrup Racing Team is at the centre of the story with its lead driver Andreas Bäckman sitting second in the standings, as the main contender to Dahlgren in the title race. Bäckman would also inherit the Skellefteå victory if Dahlgren ends up being disqualified, with the effect of that very decision consequently a key factor in the championship context.
When asked about his take on the matter, team owner Fredrik Lestrup said he felt the issue was an unwelcome distraction heading into the final race day of the season.
“From a sporting perspective, that’s no longer what this discussion is about, and that frankly irritates me,” Lestrup told TouringCarTimes. “It has already been determined that the car (Dahlgren’s) was too low and that it can’t have been from any accidental damage during the race. That’s what this is about from a sporting perspective and that’s why I appealed to the Disciplinary Committee after Skellefteå in the first place.
“Their (PWR’s) protest is about a legal procedure that they apparently question. So we’ve come away from the actual heart of the matter, and I think that’s a shame. I can’t see how any potential statement from Robert is going to change the fact the car was too low. To me, he’s not even a party in this matter, at least no more so than any other driver out there who will also be affected by this decision.
“We want this to be settled out on track, here, this weekend. We had a car that was too low ourselves in the previous race at Anderstorp, we accepted it, and we lost those points. You need to be able to take setbacks and get over them.
“I feel like they (PWR) are very afraid to lose”.
When approached by TouringCarTimes, Dahlgren said he was not in a position to comment, while PWR Racing just offered a short statement.
“The Disciplinary Committee has contacted Robert’s legal representative, and we’re obeying the process,” team manager Emil Axelsson said in a brief comment.
It remains to be seen whether the matter can be settled during the finale at Mantorp on Saturday. The SBF’s Disciplinary Committe are known to be looking into the matter urgently, but TouringCarTimes understands the necessary hearings and a final solution are unlikely to be made during the weekend.