Swede Robert Dahlgren says he’s itching to return to the wheel of his Volvo V8 Supercar at Albert Park after a challenging debut at the Clipsal 500.
While team-mate Scott McLaughlin starred in the impressive S60 package, Dahlgren spent his Adelaide weekend adjusting to a foreign car and circuit, while suffering more than his fair share of mechanical maladies.
Switching from Polestar’s Scandinavian Touring Car Championship program this season, Dahlgren had enjoyed just a single, weather-hit, day in the V8 Supercar at Sydney Motorsport Park’s pre-season test ahead of Adelaide.
The 34-year-old chalked up 21st and 23rd place finishes in Saturday’s two Clipsal races before a split oil tank spelt the end of his Sunday.
Dahlgren had earlier been 1.2s and 1.3s adrift of McLaughlin in the respective Friday qualifying sessions, while engine problems ensured he did not turn a lap in Sunday’s Race 3 qualifying.
“(Adelaide was) difficult because I’ve had to change my driving style quite a bit,” Dahlgren told Speedcafe.com.
“It was small steps and I just tried to change a few things trying to put a lap together, but I got quicker and quicker all the time.
“The biggest challenge was that the car moves around a lot after being on the kerb and also with the spool you have to work with it. I’ve not raced with a spool since karting.
“The way you brake into a corner there is a lot higher pressure than you would with a car with higher downforce, so there is a little bit more trail braking in some corners.
“It is a lot rougher in transition from straight to turning so you need to work with that and not against that.
“There is a lot of fine tuning to be able to get that last little bit out of it. But we will be there.”
Sitting 24th in points ahead of the non-championship AGP support races, Dahlgren believes he showed enough across the Adelaide weekend to head to Albert Park encouraged.
“I think I made big steps that I couldn’t really prove (in Adelaide),” he said.
“I think I improved a lot from the first two races, obviously not as big as top 10 but I’m really looking forward to the Grand Prix.
“The engine is really good and solid and the driveability is very, very good. The Volvo has shown that it can be quick.”
Team owner Garry Rogers added that Dahlgren will be “bloody good” once he has had the chance to adjust to the cars.
“Robert really showed some very good speed on his splits,” Rogers told Speedcafe.com..
“He’s just trying to feel his way and I think maybe he’s probably a bit overcautious because he doesn’t want to do anything wrong.
“When I say wrong, I don’t think he wants to run into anybody like an idiot, crashing and banging.
“I think that on the speed he’s showed, it’s not yet consistent enough, but it’s all new.
“With a bit more confidence over the next few events he’ll be bloody good.”
Dahlgren has joined GRM in place of Frenchman Alexandre Premat, who will return to the team for the Pirtek Enduro Cup later in the year.