The finish for this year& ...
The finish for this year’s Danish Touringcar Championship cannot get more exciting. Before the eight and final round of the series a mere five points separate defending champion Michael Carlsen and former Formula 3000 ace Jason Watt, and following the outcome of Saturday’s practice session the cliff-hanger format of the title fight remains. Despite carrying 80 and 65 kilos of ballast respectively, Carlsen and Watt managed to end up first and second in the session, thus sharing the front row for Sunday’s race.
“It did not come as a surprise to us that we could lap that quickly with 80 ekstra kilos in the car, because we have known for a while that we would be able to put up these kind of lap times,” Carlsen said, having taken pole position. 0.172 second down was Jason Watt, who was not surprised either.
“On one or two fast laps the extra weight doesn’t really matter, maybe you loose a few tenths,” Watt said.“ But during a whole race distance you will get in trouble, and I sincerely hope that Carlsen will have most of the trouble, because if the two of us stay in front tomorrow, then I will have to be in front of him in order to win the championship.
The biggest surprise of the practice came from Volvo S40 driver Martin Jensen, who recorded the third-quickest time.
” We have worked all season long to finally get this far,“ the 22-year old said.“ It is my first season both with the team and with the car and now we are getting the results, which we had hoped for at the start of the season. We have managed to get the car down in weight, and we have also improved the engine. We don’t have a lot of horsepower, but we have a good car.
Starting on row two– just behind the ballasted pair of Carlsen and Watt– Martin Jensen has a good chance of becoming the youngest ever race winner in the Danish Touringcar Championship.
“ Carlsen and Watt have a battle of their own for the championship, and I don’t want to get involved in that. I will have to wait and see, but if there is a chance, I will go for it. I need to have some luck, but the luck will have to come now after all the problems we have had,” an optimistic Volvo driver said.
Ronnie Bremer will start alongside Martin Jensen on row two, the British Formula Ford regular getting his DTC debut as a stand-in for Jan Magnussen. Row three will see the two Legarth brothers, Pierre and Mike, lining up in the BMW 320is.
” I opted to save my tyres and only use four tyres today. It may have resulted in a slower time today, but then I will have better tyres for tomorrow,” sixth-placed Mike Legarth said. Younger brother Pierre Legarth was also satisfied:“ My tyres got to hot during practice, but fifth place is the perfect place to start from, because people then don’t have any expectations of you.”
Welsh Renault Megane Estate driver Julian Westwood will line up tomorrow’s race in 16th place, one position higher than FIA SCC regular John Nielsen’s Nissan Primera. The latter’s team mate, Thorkild Thyrring, will start even further down in last spot, having over-revved his engine during Saturday morning’s free practice.
Result of qualifying for round 8 of the Danish Touringcar Championship:
1. Michael Carlsen Michael Carlsen Peugeot 306 GTI 48,719 2. Jason Watt Peugeot Statoil Motorsport Peugeot 306 GTI 48,891 3. Martin Jensen Team Autoforum Motorsport Volvo S40 49,013 4. Ronnie Bremer Peugeot Statoil Motorsport Peugeot 306 GTI 49,026 5. Pierre Legarth BASF Motorsport BMW 320i 49,027 6. Mike Legarth Legarth Racing Team BMW 320i 49,048 7. Gunnar Kristensen Team Brask Peugeot 306 GTI 49,137 8. Casper Elgaard Team Brask Peugeot 406 Coupé 49,168 9. Kent Bo Lauridsen Team Brask Peugeot 306 GTI 49,322 10. Per Poulsen S40 Racing Volvo S40 49,327