DTC: Jyllands-Ringen qualifying report

Touringcar Racing - April 28th 2001 - Danish Touringcar Championship Brask driver Casper Elgaard takes his first DTC pole Saturday's qualifying session was a cliff-hanger until the last minute Sunday's opening round of the Danish Touringcar ...

Touringcar Racing - April 28th 2001 - Danish Touringcar Championship

Brask driver Casper Elgaard takes his first DTC pole

Saturday's qualifying session was a cliff-hanger until the last minute Sunday's opening round of the Danish Touringcar Championship looks Sset to be a closely-fought affair. That is the conclusion following SSaturday's qualification at Jyllands-Ringen, where Team Brask newcomer SCasper Elgaard grabbed pole position from under the nose of defending Schampion, fellow Peugeot 306 GTI driver, Michael Carlsen.

"I knew it was now or never, if I was going to take pole position," the young Dane said. "I held third place provisionally on the grid, so all I could do was to go for that pole position."

The fight for pole position was centered on the first third of the 20 minute session. Michael Carlsen and Panoz works driver Jan Magnussen were the first drivers to sit on pole position with below-50-second laps, but both were immediately beaten by Casper Elgaard, who was the first driver below 49 seconds with a time of 48.916s. But then nothing really happened in the fight for pole position during the next ten minutes, as all the leading DTC drivers pitted to get new tyres and await another chance to claim pole position.

With three minutes to go Elgaard's pole time was finally beaten, when Michael Carlsen posted a time in 48.844s. But the BP-backed privateer only managed to hold on to pole position for another two minutes, when Elgaard managed to record a time of 48.681s on the last timed lap of the session.

"I had pitted to get two new front tyres, and I just sat in the pit waiting to see, whether some-one was able to go faster," explains Casper Elgaard, who will make his Le Mans debut in the Den Bla Avis Team Goh Dome in June.

"While I waited both Michael Carlsen and Jason Watt went faster and moved me down to third, so it was just a question of getting back to the circuit again. On my first three laps I got slowed down by traffic, and I could see that my fourth lap on the new tyres would be my last. It was the last chance to take pole, so I went for it, and luckily I got it."

Reigning champion Carlsen was not disappointed by having to start tomorrow's race from second place.

"There was a lot of traffic at the end of the session, and I did not get that free lap that I would have liked to have, but it is not so important here, whether you start first or second," Carlsen said.

Next on the grid are Peugeot Statoil Motorsport's two identical 306 GTIs with Jason Watt and Jan Magnussen aboard, while Mike Legarth's BMW 320i was the first non-Peugeot in fifth place. The two McDonald's Nissan Primeras of John Nielsen and Thorkild Thyrring ended up in 13th and 15th places respectively, as both had to run with lower-specification engines after their newest power units had broken down in the week leading up to the race.

"Today's qualifying result does not come as a surprise for us, as we don't have the right engines," John Nielsen explained. "But still we are aiming to get some points in the book tomorrow, and then we will have to see, how many we can score. We just have to be patient and hope that we can keep our cars in one piece in the close traffic."

Splitting the McDonald's Nissan pair will be Leicester-based Englishman Julian Westwood. The former Formula 3000 driver notched up 14th position in his Renault Megane Estate, four places higher than his Norwegian colleague, Thomas Faraas, could match.

The closeness of the first DTC qualifying session of the year was underlined by the fact that the top nine drivers on the grid were covered by a mere second, while as little as 2.5s covered the top 23 drivers, who did not run into major technical difficulties during the session. <pre> Result of qualifying for round 1 of the Danish Touringcar Championship:

1.  Casper Elgaard      Team Brask                      Peugeot 306 GTI         48.681
2.  Michael Carlsen     Michael Carlsen                 Peugeot 306 GTI         48.844
3.  Jason Watt          Peugeot Statoil Motorsport      Peugeot 306 GTI         48.899
4.  Jan Magnussen       Peugeot Statoil Motorsport      Peugeot 306 GTI         49.137
5.  Mike Legarth        Legarth Racing Team             BMW 320i                49.381
6.  Jesper Sylvest      Sylvest Motorsport              Citroën Xsara CoupeVTS  49.387
7.  Gunnar Kristensen   Team Brask                      Peugeot 306 GTI         49.485
8.  Pierre Legarth      BASF Motorsport                 Peugeot 406 Coupe       49.516
9.  Per Poulsen         S40 Racing                      Volvo S40               49.670
10. Michael Schroter    Team Volkswagen/Castrol         Volkswagen Golf         49.739

--DTCC-

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Series General
Drivers Jan Magnussen , John Nielsen , Jason Watt , Casper Elgaard , Thorkild Thyrring , Jules Westwood , Gunnar Kristensen , Per Poulsen
Teams Citroën World Rally Team