Oliver Söderström resists pressure to win Mantorp Park opener

Oliver Söderström fended off Tobias Brink to win the first race of the STCC TCR Scandinavia finale at Mantorp Park, as Robert Dahlgren closed in further on his fourth title.

Söderström won from Brink and Dahlgren, while Hugo Nerman and Axel Bengtsson completed the top five.

Brink took the start from pole, while behind, title contender Andreas Bäckman immediately hit trouble after making contact with Mattias Andersson in the Paris corner. Bäckman managed to return to the pits, but retired due to the damage sustained in the incident.

As the field headed back round to Paris for the start of lap two, leader Brink was caught out by the gravel spread out after Bäckman’s off, and slid off the road – allowing Dahlgren and Söderström through.

Dahlgren could not break away from Söderström and the recovering Brink, however, and instead came under increasing pressure – which peaked on lap three when both managed to find a way past the championship leader in successive corners.

Brink then upped the heat on Söderström in the middle phase of the race, launching a late dive into Mjölby corner on lap six, but overdid it and remained in second as Söderström held on to win.

If Dahlgren keeps his win from the debated first race in Skellefteå, which is a topic for the Swedish Motorsport Federation’s Disciplinary Committee, the points sealed in Race 1 this morning are enough to crown him 2022 STCC champion. If he were to retroactively lose them (again), he would still need just a single point to put the championship beyond any legal doubt in Race 2, which is next up at 13.10 CEST.