DTC: Henrik Larsen tops driver's favourite poll

The diminutive driver is the most likely 2002 champion -- according to his rivals. Henrik Larsen, who finished a narrow runner-up to eventual Word Champion Mika Häkkinen in the 1988 European Formula Opel Lotus series, is the most likely driver...

The diminutive driver is the most likely 2002 champion -- according to his rivals.

Henrik Larsen, who finished a narrow runner-up to eventual Word Champion Mika Häkkinen in the 1988 European Formula Opel Lotus series, is the most likely driver to become the 2002 Danish Touringcar Champion -- according to his rivals. That is the conclusion of an opinion poll performed among the 26 drivers entered for this year's Danish Touringcar Championship, which kicks off at Jyllands-Ringen on May 12th.

Larsen, who will be driving a brand-new Honda Civic Type-R for the new K-motorsport team alongside triple Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen's younger brother, Jacob, gets the most votes from six of the drivers. Thus the diminutive driver narrowly beats Jan Magnussen and John Nielsen who each got five votes.

"I am very happy that my competitors have respect for me right from the beginning, but despite of this nothing will be settled until the end of the year," Larsen says. "It is my clear impression that a lot of drivers have the potential to fight for the title, and there will be no favourites as such. After two years in the local Citroën Saxo Cup I will be back in a concept that is very much similar to the ex-DTM Mercedes that I ran in the German Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy, and as I have been used to cars with 400 horsepowers and more, I won't be scared of pedalling a car in the DTC."

The election of Henrik Larsen as championship favourite does not come as a surprise for his two main rivals in the opinion poll.

"Henrik has always performed excellently in whatever car he has been driving, and to my knowledge he is the only driver to have beaten Mika Häkkinen fair and square in Opel Lotus," says Jan Magnussen, who will rival him in a brand new Peugeot 307 GTI.

"When his new team, K-motorsport, get his Honda up and running, Henrik will be a real challenge. But John Nielsen is also a tough rival. He has got loads of experience, is immensely fast and he is also a hard charger. I totally agree with the poll that the three of us are among the candidates for the championship, but personally I would also like to include Jason Watt and Michael Carlsen in the group."

"Coming to think of it, the result of the poll doesn't surprise me," John Nielsen adds.

"Henrik is no new-comer. He has always performed marvellously in a racing car, and hopefully he will be having a good season, even though I will still beat him! Personally, I still have an old account from the 2000 season (when he finished runner-up, ed.) which I want to have settled. I know I have the right equipment with my BMW this year, and at the end of the season I will be heading the points table. But this year's DTC series will be hard and close, but with a better show because of the changes to the points system, which will mean that we don't have to drive with our pocket calculators all the time."

The opinion poll among the 26 drivers entered for this Danish Touringcar Championship also included a question on who would be the surprise of the year. Again, Henrik Larsen scored the most votes with nine out of 26, and as his teammate Jacob Kristensen got a further five votes, there is no doubt that their rivals see the pair's K-motorsport Honda Civic Type Rs as very competitive machinery in this year's series.

- dtc/ma-

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About this article
Series General
Drivers Mika Hakkinen , Tom Kristensen , Jan Magnussen , John Nielsen , Jason Watt , Jacob Kristensen
Teams Citroën World Rally Team