James Thompson wins first DTC final for Honda
The Brit took the championship lead after a weekend of close racing
James Thompson achieved a number of firsts in the Danish Touringcar Championship at Padborg Park on Sunday, when he won the prestigious final race of the day. The Brit became only the second non-Danish driver to win a DTC final, but he also gave both Honda as well as Hartmann Honda Racing their first wins in a DTC final. On top of that the former WTCC front runner ended up leading the Danish Touringcar Championship with one point's advantage to Michel Nykjær, Næstved.
"Well, I am over the moon. It is really nice, a little bit unexpected," he admitted after having realized that he is now the leader of the series.
"We knew that the car was fast, but we were disappointed with the qualifying (he ended as runner-up to Henrik Lundgaard, ed.), but I knew the car was competitive in the race. It was a matter of trying to stay out of trouble and hope that we managed to get on pole position for the final, as it is difficult to overtake here."
In the first of the two qualification heats James Thompson chased Henrik Lundgaard for the entire distance, but he could not find a way past the blue Chevrolet. At one stage the pair touched, but both could continue.
"James was doing really well in the first race, and as I had to close a gap here and there I got dirt on my tires, which made it impossible for me to open up a gap. But it was all fair and a good race," Henrik Lundgaard said.
"He (Henrik, ed.) drove very well, and the circuit is quite narrow. I had a try where I hit him under braking, but it wasn't a fair try so I let him drive. But I drove well and I couldn't overtake him. It wasn't until the final that I could exploit the speed of my car."
For the second qualification heat the top eight start in reverse order, but whereas James Thompson managed to move from seventh on the grid to fourth at the chequered flag, Henrik Lundgaard could only progress from eighth to seventh. Instead the lead was a battle between two BMW 320si E90s driven by two of the most experienced Danish drivers, John Nielsen and Jan Magnussen.
The former was leading in his orange example from Team Telesikring Racing, but in his green and white car running on E85 fuel Jan Magnussen managed to catch him and pass him with two laps to go to claim the first race win in the series achieved by using ethanol.
"I am very much satisfied with the result of the second race. It is something the team has deserved," the reigning champion said. "It has been a hard start to the season. Definitively because of our switch to ethanol, but we have already been making good progress now."
The results of the two qualification heats gave James Thompson pole position, and after the first corners of the final had been negated the rivals didn't see the rear lights of his Honda Accord until they met it again in the parc ferme area, as the Brit was faster. Behind him there was a good battle for second place which Seat driver Jason Watt claimed in front of Michel Nykjær and Jan Magnussen -- the trio running off circuit just after having passed the finishing line!
The third round of the series takes places at Jyllandsringen on June 28th.