James Thompson won the FIA European Cup for Hartmann Honda Racing in Portugal On Sunday Hartmann Honda Racing secured its biggest triumph so far in racing. At the Braga circuit in Portugal James Thompson achieved a third and a first place in the...
James Thompson won the FIA European Cup for Hartmann Honda Racing in Portugal
On Sunday Hartmann Honda Racing secured its biggest triumph so far in racing. At the Braga circuit in Portugal James Thompson achieved a third and a first place in the two races to win the FIA European Touring Car Cup for drivers, while Per Poulsen took 11th place overall.
"James is very proud of the result and he has good reason be, as he did a sterling job for us," Hans Hartmann says. "Unfortunately he could not afford the opportunity to party with the rest of the team as he had to travel to Japan to drive in the WTCC race there next weekend."
"Per did also do a good job for us. Sadly he was unlucky in the first race, but in the second he showed true team spirit and helped James progressing through the ranks."
A third place and a race win might look convincing, but the starting point was far from optimal for James Thompson, Per Poulsen and Hartmann Honda Racing. The two drivers had qualified for grid positions as number six and eleven for the first race.
"It all started up hill for us, as during qualifying we had trouble with our alternators, which also caused us trouble in the race," Hans Hartmann explains. "James was fastest in qualifying at the beginning, but then he chose to stay on the circuit, while others pitted and changed tyres, which proved to be the right thing to do. James was aware of the fact that he had made the wrong gamble, but when he do things like that he get much more dangerous. When he returned on Sunday he was much more focused and had grown a horn on his head!"
In the first race James Thompson moved his way up from sixth to third place, but in the second race -- where he had to start in fifth place -- he got a bad start. After that he started fighting, overtaking his rivals one by one so that he was leading in the end. The win in race two meant that he had claimed the FIA European Touring Car Cup.
While Hartmann Honda Racing's British driver went to the top at the Braga circuit, the team's Danish driver had a difficult race-day in Portugal.
"The conditions were difficult," Per Poulsen says. "The weather meant that we did not learn much from our test, and we had an over-steering back-end of the car that caused us trouble. It wasn't until Sunday that we got the car sorted. I was unlucky in my first heat, where I got a push at the start, so I had to retire, but otherwise I think a fifth or sixth place would have been realistic in that race."
The early exit from the first race meant that Per Poulsen had to start race two from the back row, but he managed to get eighth position in the end.
"I chose to gamble with dry tyres at the front and wet tyres at the rear, but the wet tyres died completely after 4 or 5 laps, and that was a pity, especially with the way the start went, as the starting collision was good to me," Per Poulsen says. "There was no more rubber left to work with, and the last eighth laps were just a question of getting home without ditching the car."