Ekstrom: Bjork ideal candidate for GRM drive

Tom Howard

Wednesday 8th January, 2014 - 4:00am

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Mattias Ekstrom

Mattias Ekstrom

Triple Eight wildcard driver Mattias Ekstrom believes Scandinavian touring car champ Thed Bjork looms as a prime chance to secure the vacant Volvo drive at Garry Rogers Motorsport.

Ekstrom, who along with Andy Priaulx drove the Triple Eight-prepared XBox Holden at Bathurst last year, says Bjork ticks all the boxes.

GRM, which will become Volvo Polestar Racing this season, is yet to announce a replacement for Alexandre Premat following the Frenchman’s disclosure that he would no longer continue in the category.

In the wake of Premat’s departure, Garry Rogers confirmed that he was continually fielding calls from domestic and international drivers regarding the vacancy.

Volvo has refused to hint at when or where the team-mate for Scott McLaughlin will come from, however Ekstrom favours Bjork but has not ruled out Polestar works driver Robert Dahlgren.

The 35-year-old DTM champion Ekstrom says he’s aware of the talk linking long serving Polestar man Dahlgren with a move to Australia, but admitted experienced tin top ace Bjork would be best suited to V8 Supercars.

Bjork won eight of 12 races to claim the 2013 Scandinavian Touring Car Championship and has also raced competitively in Formula 3000, DTM and the World Touring Car Championship.

“In Sweden I read the rumours that Robert Dahlgren was the guy that was linked to the seat but there was nothing official. There is no smoke without fire,” Ekstrom told Speedcafe.com

“I will be a bit surprised if they take Robert because I think Bjork has been doing a great job for many years as well.

“He is in my opinion a more versatile driver, who can race in four-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive and front-drive cars. He can drive anything.

“I will be happy if they bring in a Swede as it would be good for Swedish motorsport.”

Ekstrom, who scored a highly impressive 10th place finish on debut at last year’s Bathurst 1000, revealed he had spoken to Polestar boss Christian Dahl about Volvo’s V8 Supercars plans, but was never offered a 2014 drive.

“I’ve known Christian for a long time. We have a social relationship so we just had a chat at Bathurst and he told me what ideas they had for V8 Supercars”, added Ekstrom.

“I think its pretty interesting what they are trying to do.

“It will be interesting to see what progress they make because I think they can prove a point.

“When we were talking we were making some jokes about a drive for me in 2014 but nothing serious.”

Ekstrom has recently agreed a new deal with Audi to stay in Germany’s popular DTM series.

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