Touringcar Racing - August 12th 2001 - Danish Touringcar Championship: John Nielsen ends Peugeot domination in Danish series But Peugeot driver Michael Carlsen extended his lead in the championship The Peugeot domination of this year's Danish...
Touringcar Racing - August 12th 2001 - Danish Touringcar Championship:
John Nielsen ends Peugeot domination in Danish series
But Peugeot driver Michael Carlsen extended his lead in the championship The Peugeot domination of this year's Danish Touringcar Championship was broken at the fifth round of the series at Ring Djursland, when John Nielsen and Thorkild Thyrring scored a one-two win with their Nissan Primeras in the main race.
Fresh from his ALMS victory at Portland Peugeot 306 driver Jan Magnussen had grapped pole for the qualification race, and he also made the best start to lead John Nielsen, Casper Elgaard, Jason Watt, Thorkild Thyrring and Michael Carlsen into the first hairpin.
"I made some bad starts today," Big John admitted after the races, "and especially in the first heat I had to pay for it, because Jan and I were equally fast, so it was just a question of taking the start, which Jan did."
Slowly, but surely Jan Magnussen opened up a small gap to John Nielsen, while Casper Elgaard had to fight hard to keep third place in his Team Brask 406 Coupé. At the end of the straight on the first lap, Jason Watt had a good chance to get alongside Elgaard, but the latter managed to close the door. For the rest of the qualification race Watt and fifth-placed Thyrring tried every move in the book to get by Elgaard, and as Watt again had a near-successful attempt at the end of the straight with a few laps to go, this almost gave Thyrring the possibility of moving into fourth.
But while no positions were exchanged among the top six - where series leader Michael Carlsen held on to the last place in this group - the outcome of seventh place was only decided at the chequered flag, when Citroën Xsara driver Jesper Sylvest managed to edge out a gap of only 0.005 second to the Volkswagen Golf of Michael Schröter.
At the start of the final Jan Magnussen again shot into the lead, but this time it was Casper Elgaard who made the best start to shoot into second place, forcing John Nielsen wide at the hairpin, so that Jason Watt also got by the Nissan Primera. John Nielsen was determined to regain the lost position, so when the leading quartet went up to the paddock corner he went for a gap on the inside of Watt's Peugeot 306. The two cars went side-by-side round the bend with a slight touch, which resulted in Watt's petrol pick-up being knocked askew, so that the former Formula 3000 ace had to retire on the spot.
While Magnussen was opening up a gap on Elgaard, the latter was being put under pressure by John Nielsen who nipped by him into the hairpin at the end of the opening lap. On the next lap it was Thorkild Thyrring's turn to get past Elgaard, whose car was not perfectly balanced for the hilly and twisty Ring Djursland. Meanwhile at the start of lap five Magnussen came up to lap the Ford Focus of Allan Bjerregaard, and in the process the drivers clashed, sending both of them out into instant retirement.
"We went over the leap at the end of the pit straight side by side, and just as I was going downhill I was hit right on the door and my car went sideways," Magnussen explained. Allan Bjerregaard saw the incident differently. "I had seen Jan coming, so I switched my indicator on and started braking to make room for him. But suddenly it seemed as if something happened to his car, because he then just went right into the side of my car," the Ford Focus driver said.
The Nissan Primera pair of John Nielsen and Thorkild Thyrring was thus handed a one-two lead, which they managed to hold onto through till the end of the race. The following places, however, were more hotly contested.
A fast starting Jesper Sylvest had put a lot a pressure on Casper Elgaard's Peugeot 406, but he never managed to find a way past the third-placed man, before he started suffering from a slow puncture, which saw him loose competitiveness. With three laps to got Sylvest's Xsara dropped back and now got the attention of BMW 320i driver Mike Legarth, who had managed to keep Michael Carlsen behind. In an attempt to hold onto his fourth place Sylvest took a wide line into the hairpin, forcing Legarth to go even wider into the bend. In the process Michael Carlsen moved past both of them, going from sixth to fourth place in one go.
With Watt - who had finished in front of him in the qualification race - out of the final, Carlsen's fourth place finish meant that he could extend his championship lead with another 10 points, so that he now leads Watt by 15 points with three rounds still to go.