DTC: Jyllands-Ringen, round seven report

Sensational seat win at "new" Jyllands-Ringen Jan Magnussen and Casper Elgaard are still fighting for the championship A few hours after the Danish Minister of Sport and Culture, Brian Mikkelsen, had officially opened the "new" extended version...

Sensational seat win at "new" Jyllands-Ringen
Jan Magnussen and Casper Elgaard are still fighting for the championship

A few hours after the Danish Minister of Sport and Culture, Brian Mikkelsen, had officially opened the "new" extended version of Jyllands-Ringen on Saturday, season debutant Michel Nykjær wrote his name into the history books of the Danish Touringcar Championship, when his sensational win in the final of round 7 made him the youngest ever winner of a DTC final. On Sunday, Jan Magnussen took his first final of the season, when he triumphed in round 8 of the series, and although he extended his points lead to Casper Elgaard in second place, the outcome of the Danish Touringcar Championship will not be decided until Sunday September 28th.

The first of a total of four DTC heats during the weekend was comfortably won by Jan Magnussen from Casper Elgaard, who during the first third of the heat had to withstand a hard pressure from Michael Carlsen, who was having his best weekend since winning the championship in 2001. Carlsen, however, then had to let John Nielsen by and soon after, Seat Toledo driver Michel Nykjær also passed him and took fourth place.

With the top six of the first heat being reversed for the grid of the final of round 7, Henrik Lundgaard found himself on pole position during a weekend, where electrical gremlins earlier had plagued his and team mate Jakob Sund's Toyota Corolla T-Sports. As a former European Rally Champion Lundgaard really held all the trumph cards when the heavens opened minutes before the start, and it looked as if he literally would sail away in the lead. But coming from behind Michel Nykjær had moved by John Nielsen and Michael Carlsen to take second place with four laps to go. Entering the penultimate lap Nykjær moved alongside Lundgaard on the entry to a double lefthander, in which the pair touched on two occasions. Nykjær could continue to take his and Seat's first DTC win, while Lundgaard fell down the order.

"For six laps my throttle had stuck open, so sometimes I had to use the main switch to get off the power," Lundgaard explained. "I tried to do the last two laps and fend off Nykjær, but then the throttle again stuck open and I had nearly taken him off. I hit him in the back, and then the throttle simply got stuck permanently."

"Going onto the straight I had more speed than Henrik and pulled alongside him," Nykjær said of the incident. "In the following corner he is on the inside, and I think I had passed him, when he started closing. He touched me so that I got over the curb, but then, that's racing!"

While Michel Nykjær was jubilant after his first win, championship rival Casper Elgaard and Jan Magnussen were non-plussed. On the opening lap Magnussen's team mate Jason Watt had sent Casper Elgaard into a half-spin and the BMW was then collected by Magnussen, sending both cars out of the race with broken front suspension.

Come Sunday for the third heat -- the pre-final of round 8 -- the sun was shining, and pole sitter Henrik Lundgaard had no problems in taking the lead from Volvo driver Pontus Morth, who unfortunately had jump-started and was given a stop-and-go penalty. This meant that Jason Watt and Jan Magnussen was now trailing the leading Toyota, but soon the Peugeot twins swopped places and although Magnussen managed to close some of the gap to Lundgaard, he couldn't mount a challenge.

Behind him a minor queue was building up behind Jason Watt in third, as Casper Elgaard, Michel Nykjær and Honda driver Martin Jensen, tried to find a way past him, but all in vain. Elgaard was the most persistent, as Martin Jensen and Michel Nykjær dropped behind.

For the fourth race of the weekend, Nykjær found himself on pole position for the second time of his career, but a dismal start and an off-course extension on the opening lap ruined his chances of repeating his Saturday result. Instead Elgaard and Lundgaard made catapultic starts from third and sixth on the grid respectively to take the top two positions. Third and fourth were held by Jan Magnussen and Jens Edman, who soon started putting pressure on Lundgaard, who was also trying to find a way past the leading Elgaard.

First the Peugeot pair demoted Lundgaard to fourth, and then Magnussen moved by Elgaard to lead a DTC final for the first time this year, taking a massive 3.4 secs lead in the process. Meanwhile, Lundgaard had retaken Edman for third, and in the following hurly-burly Elgaard went from second to fourth.

At the front Magnussen drove tactically to let the faster Lundgaard chip away at his lead at a rate that wouldn't have the Peugeot driver close up, while Elgaard tried in vain to find a way past Jens Edman who ended in third place.

Championship-wise the 2003 DTC season is now between Jan Magnussen and Casper Elgaard, who are now separated by 20 points. With a possible 40 points available at the ninth and final round in four weeks'time Magnussen looks like holding the upper hand, but still he has a major hurdle to climb. On the very same weekend he is also contracted to race the Prodrive Ferrari 575 in the American Le Mans Series, and the series leader hopes that his American team will let him concentrate on winning the prestigious Danish Touringcar Championship.

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Series General
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Henrik Lundgaard , John Nielsen , Jason Watt , Casper Elgaard , Martin Jensen , Jens Edman