Casper Elgaard defends championship title Jan Magnussen lost the title after having raced on two continents within 14 hours This year's Danish Touringcar Championship was settled on Sunday at Jyllandsringen under very special circumstances...
Casper Elgaard defends championship title
Jan Magnussen lost the title after having raced on two continents within 14 hours
This year's Danish Touringcar Championship was settled on Sunday at Jyllandsringen under very special circumstances but also with a very clean and fair decision, as previous season's accident prone races were not repeated.
At the previous round at Padborg Park former champion Jan Magnussen had moved himself into the championship lead by a mere two points, but his chances of defending that lead were initially not very good, as he was contracted to race for Chevrolet Corvette in the Petit Le Mans on the Saturday of the championship weekend. However, a rented company jet saw the former Grand Prix driver being able to turn up at the circuit in Denmark, less than 12 hours after he had clinched the GT1 win at Road Atlanta.
But having missed both qualifying and the Super Pole shoot out, Jan Magnussen had to start the first of Sunday's two races dead last on the bumber 27 car grid, while championship rivals Henrik Lundgaard, Jens Edman and Casper Elgaard lined up first, second and fourth respectively!
On the first lap Jan Magnussen easily overtook ten rivals, but from then on the passing manoeuvres got less frequent and more difficult. And passing team mates was not easy either, as he had a slight tangle with Rene Rasmussen following a minor misunderstanding. However, at the chequered flag he had gained 15 positions to finish eighth.
Nevertheless his championship lead had been lost. Casper Elgaard had made another blinder of a start and he challenged Jan Magnussen's pole sitting team mate, Henrik Lundgaard, rounding the first corners of the opening laps, before he could claim a lead he was never to loose. Henrik Lundgaard did also look safe in second position, but gradually he was been pressured by Jens Edman, who was running with a maximum 50 kilos of success ballast, while Michel Nykjær was also finding life somewhat difficult, as he had John Nielsen right behind him in fifth position.
The former Le Mans winner never set in that final attack, settling for fifth place which guaranteed him pole position for the second race. And this pole position John Nielsen transformed into a race lead and a record 12th victory in the prestigious Finals.
The championship protagonists, Casper Elgaard and Jan Magnussen, lined up fifth and eighth respectively, and as Casper Elgaard almost got sandwiched between Henrik Lundgaard and Michel Nykjær at the start and duly backed off, the two rivals ended the first lap as fifth and sixth, running in procession. However, Casper Elgaard did not want to drive a calculating race, and after he had fended off an attack from Jan Magnussen, he started to close the gap to Henrik Lundgaard in fourth, a position he claimed on the fourth lap. But still he was not satisfied. Slowly, but surely he narrowed down Michel Nykjær in third and after a short battle he claimed the last position on the rostrum. In contrast Jan Magnussen could only improve to fifth in the race, thus having to take second overall.
"I just had to concentrate on the race rather than start thinking about the championship," Casper Elgaard explained his offensive tactics afterwards. "Things went my way today, but I also wanted to put up a decent result rather than going for points. I wanted to win a race today, no matter what."
"Casper is a worthy champion," Jan Magnussen said. "It was just as difficult as I had expected, and I feel we got what we could have hoped for. Casper did not suffer those mishaps that we had needed, and I am very satisfied."
Third in the championship position went to Jens Edman, who once again proved that the Peugeot 307 could have been a real overall championship contender, had it shown the same speed at the start of the season. Despite his success ballast the Swede was very competitive, taking a second and a third place and often challenging drivers with lighter vehicles.
This weekend Jens Edman got extra help from Kurt Thiim, whom Peugeot Sport Denmark had drafted in to give the team's WTCC Peugeot 407 its Danish Touringcar Championship, as the Swede's regular team mate, Martin Jensen, was also a late-arrival due to his Road Atlanta commitments. The former DTM champion finished sixth in the first race, but having been sent into a spin by Philip Andersen he had to fight his way back to finish 15th. Over the weekend it was announced that Kurt Thiim will be driving for a new BMW team in the 2006 Danish Touringcar Championship.