Lundgaard registers first retirement of the season The rivals have now moved closer to the championship leader The battle for the Danish Touringcar Championship intensified, when the fifth of the eight round series was held at hilly Ring ...
Lundgaard registers first retirement of the season
The rivals have now moved closer to the championship leader
The battle for the Danish Touringcar Championship intensified, when the fifth of the eight round series was held at hilly Ring Djursland. During the previous rounds former European Rally Champion Henrik Lundgaard has built a comfortable cushion at the top of the points table, and this stood him in good deed this Sunday. Having taken his first 2004 win in the pre-final, he was punted into retirement on the opening lap of the final, when he was hit from behind by a brake-less John Nielsen. As victory went to the latter's team mate, Casper Elgaard, the championship tussle is once again alive, as the leader of the points table is the only top driver with just a single did-not-finish.
Surprisingly Henrik Lundgaard had claimed pole position for the pre-final, but it was Jason Watt who made the best getaway to rump into the lead. However, the former champion had jumped the start, so he had to pit for a stop&go-penalty on lap three, leaving Henrik Lundgaard to lead the race from Martin Jensen and Casper Elgaard. The latter was being shadowed by Michel Nykjær, who ended up hitting the BMW and sending himself into eventual retirement with engine problems.
The man on the move, however, was reigning champion Jan Magnussen. A drive shaft had failed as he was about the enter the shoot out that determines the top 12 grid positions, so the Peugeot had to work hard to move up the field. One by one he passed the rivals and ended right on the tail of the bumber of team mate Martin Jensen in second position.
With the top five of the pre-final being reversed for the final, Kurt Thiim found himself on pole position for the second final in a row. Alas, Casper Elgaard made a better getaway from the outside of the front row to lead from Kurt Thiim, Jan Magnussen, Henrik Lundgaard and John Nielsen, the latter pair tangling and sending out the safety car. At the restart Casper Elgaard managed to build up a small cushion to his pursuers, where Jan Magnussen soon managed to pass Kurt Thiim, who slowly but surely slipped down the field, as the handling of his Renault got worse.
A driver moving the other way through the field was Mike Legarth. Having finished the pre-final as best privateer in ninth position overall, he was up into sixth on the opening lap and then he shadowed the Toyota of Jens Edman for the first half of the race, eventually slipping by him on lap 14. At this time Mike Legarth -- whose father built the circuit back in 1965 -- clearly was having one of the fastest cars on the circuit, and next targets were Kurt Thiim and Martin Jensen. While Kurt Thiim proved easy to get by, it was a different kettle of fish with Martin Jensen.
The young Peugeot driver fought hard for third place in his quest to keep the same position in the championship, and as Mike Legarth tried to move by with half a lap to go, the pair tangled and Martin Jensen was sent spinning off the road and into the guardrail. Thus Mike Legarth could finish the final in third position behind Casper Elgaard and Jan Magnussen -- the best position in the series for a privateer since June 2002, when he managed to beat everybody fair and square at Jyllands-Ringen!
Caption 1: John Nielsen (3) rammed into series leader Henrik Lundgaard (8).
Caption 2: Casper Elgaard took his first win in a final for a year.
Briefly: On the day when Tom Kristensen took his maiden DTM win, younger brother Jacob Kristensen made a welcome comeback to the Danish Touringcar Championship. Driving a Honda Civic Type-R he finished 17th in race one and retired from race two. * Team mate Philip Andersen, however, had his best showing in the series so far, running consistently in the top eight and taking fourth place in the final. * A race winner at the previous round at Ring Knutstorp Pontus Morth was off the pause for the entire weekend, eventually running out of tarmac in the final. * The fifth round of the Danish Touringcar Championship took place at a newly resurfaced Ring Djursland. Alas, during Saturday's qualifying, the new tarmac started to break up, and construction machines had to move in and do a 12 hour resurfacing job during the night between Saturday and Sunday. * Henrik Larsen -- who finished runner-up to Mika Hakkinen in the 1988 GM Lotus Euroseries -- claimed a pair of wins in the new Renault Clio one-make series. * Series leader Kasper Andersen took two race wins in the Scandinavian Formula Renault Cup, while Jesper Wulff Laursen won the third and final race.