Danish Touringcar Championship turns into a cliff hanger
Only six points are now separating Casper Elgaard and Jan Magnussen
This year's Danish Touringcar Championship will not be decided until the very last round of the series in three week's time. That is the conclusion following the doubleheader event at Padborg Park over the weekend, where a total of four races saw the drivers in Scandinavia's premier tin top series battle it out for points. And battle they did. Especially the two championship contenders, Casper Elgaard and Jan Magnussen, who where at loggerheads during the event.
Saturday's first race resulted in a superb win for Germany's Robert Schlunssen, who managed to work his way up from fourth on the grid to take his and the Peugeot 407 model's first ever win in the series, the 22-year old driver becoming the youngest ever race winner of the series. In the second race the new hero could not perform a remake due to a sudden drop in fuel pressure, but instead Michel Nykjær, with whom Robert Schlunssen had battled for the lead in race one, managed to take a win and duly gained a very heavy weight penalty for Sunday's pair of races. However, the Seat Leon driver's win was to a high extent helped by the battle between Jan Magnussen and Casper Elgaard, who were running 1-2 at the top of the field.
In their battle for the lead Casper Elgaard collided with Jan Magnussen, who got into a slide, which enabled Casper Elgaard to get alongside him for the next corner. But again there was contact, and as the pair ran wide -- Casper Elgaard even going through a sand trap -- Michel Nykjær could nip by the pair and take the win.
Jan Magnussen was instantly docked a penalty lane passing for the incident, and following a protest Casper Elgaard was penalized with an automatic loss of six grid positions for Sunday's first race. And to make matter worse for the reigning champion, he did not manage to get into the top seven who qualified for the third and last shoot out round, thus having to start the race from a lowly 14th position. On the contrast Jan Magnussen had more luck with his shoot out qualification. Despite stranding his BMW in the gravel trap in the second shoot out round he ended up qualifying for the third round, where he duly managed to set fastest lap.
The first race on Saturday had seen a major starting collision, and many feared a repetition for Sunday's race, but the entire field managed to get through the first two corners without a major dent. And in this process Casper Elgaard managed to overtake an impressive eight competitors to go from 14th to 6th place within a quarter of a mile!
"I got a marvellous start," the Team Essex driver said. "Some drivers moved to the inside, but I chose to go for the outside, which can be lethal. But there was room all the way down to the first corner, but still it was risky being on the outside. But I managed to get back into the queue, and I was surprised to learn that I was running sixth."
At the front Jan Magnussen was driving towards another race win, while Casper Elgaard moved two places up to finish in fourth place. That meant starting positions as fifth and second respectively for Sunday's second race, and here Casper Elgaard made another of his blinding starts to get into the lead. Team mate John Nielsen tucked into second place just ahead of Jan Magnussen and their battle helped Casper Elgaard drag out a small cushion, which saw him retake first place in the championship with a six points lead before the final round at FDM Jyllandsringen on October 15th.
On Sunday Michel Nykjær could only get a couple of fifth in his lead-heavy Seat Leon, and thus Martin Jensen became top FWD driver with a third and a fourth place respectively, which was good reward for the Hartmann Honda Racing mechanics who had worked to repair his car after the opening lap collision on Saturday.
Lister Le Mans Series regular Jens Møller made a comeback to the series, where he had finished in the top four in the privateer class in the three previous seasons. The Dane drove the Hartmann Honda Accord Euro-R vacated earlier in the season by Markko Martin and got a single point for finishing Sunday's final race in 15th position.
Sweden's Jens Edman once again had to be a spectator at a round of the Danish Touringcar Championship. Following his crash at Ring Djursland six weeks ago he is still wearing a back support.
Julien Briche will be making his debut in the Danish Touringcar Championship at the series final at FDM Jyllandsringen on October 15th. The French driver is part of Peugeot's Le Mans programme and he will be driving a Peugeot 407 built by the Peugeot Sport Danmark squad.