Michel NykjÃ¦r extends DTC lead with another win Many teams and drivers lost out in tyre gamble at wet Padborg Park Michael NykjÃ¦r extended his lead in the battle for this year's Danish Touringcar Championship, when -- following a ...
Michel Nykjær extends DTC lead with another win
Many teams and drivers lost out in tyre gamble at wet Padborg Park
Michael Nykjær extended his lead in the battle for this year's Danish Touringcar Championship, when -- following a victory in one of the two preceeding qualifying heats -- he dominated the final at Padborg Park, which he won with a solid cushion to the BMW pair of Jan Magnussen and Kurt Thiim. With the result the Seat Leon driver now has a lead of 34 points, as many of the leading contenders lost out in the tyre gamble at a wet and unpredictable Padborg Park.
"It is incredible and hard to believe. We had hoped for a good result, and we knew we have a good car for this circuit. We thought it would be possible to get some good results, and we got them," a jubilant Michel Nykjær said after the final which took place at a totally dry circuit following two on-off wet-dry qualifying heats. "We also had too many new slicks due to the amount of rain. We had good tyres, but towards the end they were almost finished."
The Seat driver had won the first qualifying heat from Jan Magnussen and Chevrolet Lacetti driver Pontus Morth, but the second qualifying heat saw Kasper Jensen's Peugeot 407 start from his first ever pole position. But just before the race should start, it started to rain again, and many drivers switched tyres and took some risky gambles, some of which were fruitful, others not.
"We made a mistake by chosing rain tyres like a lot of other drivers. But when you are lying at the rear end of the field, and the slick mounted cars just drive past you, there is no point in continuing," Chevrolet driver Henrik Lundgaard said. But Kasper Jensen had taken a different gamble.
"We chose slicks as we thought that it would keep dry, but during the first two or three laps it was really difficult to keep the car on the track," the Peugeot 407 driver said. From pole position he dropped to twelfth place.
"It was difficult to keep competitors behind you, but then we got a safety car period, and that made the tarmac dry even more. I could see that the drivers in front of me tried to cool their tyres, and then I knew things would turn my way. I tried to drive a safe race, as I could see how people were fighting with their cars, and I succeeded. At the flag only Kurt Thiim was in front of me," Kasper Jensen said of his second place.
Kurt Thiim had also chosen slicks, and thus midway through the race he could pass John Nielsen, Jan Magnussen, Michel Nykjær, Jens Møller, Michael Outzen and Jens Edman to take his first DTC race win for five years.
"The tyre choice was like Russian roulette, but we made the right choice and it was enough to take a win," Kurt Thiim said having ruined his Super Pole lap the day before. "I was really down about what I did, when I spun on my flying lap, but now we are happy."
A lot of drivers found the wet conditions difficult. Jason Watt spun twice in his hand-controlled BMW following a good drive through the field in qualifying heat 1, while reigning champions Team Essex lacked speed. On top of this reigning champion Casper Elgaard was sent off the circuit, while John Nielsen's sixth place was the team's best result. But several drivers did untraditional things which gave them a bonus. Tom Pedersen thus chose to switch from rain tyres to slicks midway through qualification heat 2, and he duly got sixth position for that, finishing two places further up than Robert Schlunssen, who had started that heat from 28th position.
Among the privateers Michael Outzen did best. He took two fourths -- one of which was in the final -- where he scored the maximum number of points for the DTC Cup ahead of Team Sturup Raceway Seat paring of Carsten Leveau and Gunnar Kristensen.