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Oil leak denies Polestar chance of first podium

Polestar Cyan Racing was denied the opportunity for a maiden World Touring Car Championship podium at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, with Thed Björk having to retire from second in the opening race with an oil leak.

Björk started the opening race from third on the grid, and the Swede moved up to second when Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani made a mistake on the Nordschleife halfway around the opening tour.

But disaster struck for the reigning Scandinavian Touring Car Champion early in the second lap, with an oil leak developing on his Volvo S60 and forcing him to retire to the pits at the end of the GP loop.

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Although Björk was able to salvage points with an eighth place finish in the Main Race, he was circumspect with the result, admitting that such setbacks were part of the learning process in the team’s first full season with the new S60.

“I had the pace on Tiago [Monteiro] and we were no doubt in with a shot for at least a podium finish,” said Björk. “Unfortunately the car started to leak oil and I had to retire.

“This is all just part of our learning process but the important thing is that I was in a fight for the lead in only our fifth race of this all-new programme.

“I just can’t thank the team enough, they gave me a really strong car, fast enough to set the third fastest lap of the [main] race. This is something everyone in the team can be really proud of.”

The second car of Fredrik Ekblom fared better in the opening encounter, with the former STCC champion finishing in eighth, despite starting 17th on the grid. He then followed it up with a seventh place in the Main Race, after a race-long duel with the LADA cars of Gabriele Tarquini and Hugo Valente.

”I am happy with this result after the dreadful start I got to the weekend,” said Ekblom, who had to start from the back in race one due to an engine change in practice. “We were able to overcome the issues and the car was so much better in the races, enabling me to make my way up through the field.

“But what this weekend really has been about is building a solid foundation for the race here next year and we have done just that.”

Polestar Head of Motorsport Alexander Murdzevski-Schedvin was pleased with the team’s perfromances on their first outing at the legendary Nordschleife.

“An oil leak denied us a podium finish and potentially a win,” he added. “But at the end of the day, it’s our first time on the ’Ring’ with this car so we are very pleased with the speed.

“We are progressing well according to plan, team Polestar Cyan Racing is doing a really good job.”

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