Reuben Kressner’s Scandinavian Touring Car Championship debut ended literally with a bang at the Skövde airport track in Sweden this weekend, as he retired from Sunday’s second race after colliding with V8 Supercars star Scott McLaughlin.
The accident occurred as Kressner, locked in battle with Race 1 winner Robert Dahlgren over fifth place, overshot the braking zone into the Turn 4 hairpin and collected third-placed McLaughlin from behind. Both drivers escaped injury, but were forced to retire at the spot.
Kressner was subsequently handed a five-place grid penalty for the next race at Mantorp Park – and the 19-year-old rookie accepts full responsibility.
“It was entirely my fault and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Scott McLaughlin and his fans,” says Reuben Kressner. “Needless to say, it was absolutely not intentional, and I feel particularly bad for Scott who had travelled from the other side of the world to come and join us for this event. I was focussing too hard on what was going on in my fight with Dahlgren, missed my braking point and ran deep into the corner. I tried to avoid hitting anybody, but unfortunately it was too late. I fully accept and understand the stewards’ decision for Mantorp Park and will learn from this mistake.”
After spending the last two seasons in French Formula 4, Kressner returns to racing in his native Sweden this year, competing for the esteemed Flash Engineering outfit run by Swedish touring car legend Jan “Flash” Nilsson. Kressner, a Stockholm resident, finished sixth in Sunday’s season-opening race at the Skövde double-header, having only tested his new STCC machine for two days before the event.
“We could have used a few more days behind the wheel going into the season, but things came together so quickly in the last few weeks,” Kressner continues. “There just wasn’t any time. To add to that, Skövde was a new track for me and for the team, so we were deliberately cautious in free practice. Qualifying was alright, although I didn’t get the most out of new tyres, and by Race 1 we were a match for anyone except the Volvos. I have to say the STCC car is a lot of fun to drive. It’s not too different to the F4 single-seater I’m used to, but has a lot more power and weight. It’s nice being back in Sweden and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Round two of the 2016 STCC season takes place on May 26.