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Robert Dahlgren admits WTCC return ‘a bit of a surprise’

Robert Dahlgren admits that his call-up to return to the World Touring Car Championship in Portugal this weekend came as ‘a bit of a surprise’, with the Swede replacing Fredrik Ekblom at Polestar Cyan Racing.

Dahlgren has not appeared in the WTCC since 2011, when he completed a full-year evaluation season for the Swedish manufacturer.

Although Dahlgren has always been part of Volvo’s preparations for its WTCC return this year, the decision to switch with Ekblom for the remainder of the year has come as a surprise to the 36-year-old.

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“I’ve been a part of WTCC programme from Volvo since the start,” said Dahlgren, who has been racing in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship in 2016. “We did testing in pre-season last year and they wanted me to drive in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship so I did that.

“I’ve kept in close contact with the team and with the development they have been doing. But it was a bit of a surprise to be here now; they called me up on Wednesday last week, just before a round in the Scandinavian championship and asked if I had anything on this weekend.

“I said I would love to go here so it happened.”

Dahlgren admits that returning to the series at the wheel of the new TC1 Volvo S60 on a high-speed street circuit which he has never before raced on is not the ideal comeback.

“I want to help the team on the development phase and if the result comes it comes. I’ve not seen the track before so it will be a bit too much to ask I think.

“We will see what happens. It’s the same with every team. They don’t want you to crash or scratch the car but to go really fast it’s not a great combination so we will have to wait and see.”

Although Volvo have struggled in the wet so far this year, with rain occurring at all six events to-date, Dahlgren admits that the team need to make overall progress in the second half of the season.

“We haven’t done a lot of wet testing as has been shown,” he added. “But the development has gone really fast forward.

“We need to take a big step forward in the second half of the year but the car is nice to drive.”

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