Jason Watt: "I'm so proud of this result". The paralysed driver won this year's Danish Touringcar Championship Jason Watt wrote his name into the history books of motor racing as well as international sport, when he became the first paralysed ...
Jason Watt: "I'm so proud of this result".
The paralysed driver won this year's Danish Touringcar Championship
Jason Watt wrote his name into the history books of motor racing as well as international sport, when he became the first paralysed driver to win a major national title, taking the Danish Touringcar Championship on Sunday at Jyllands-Ringen.
Coming into the last round the Peugeot 307 GTI driver was leading the championship by a substantial margin from John Nielsen, while Kurt Thiim also had an outside chance of the title. But taking a fifth and a fourth in the pre-final and final Watt did get exactly the results that would see him keep hold of the points lead without having to take into account the results of his competitors. But as a matter of fact he almost failed to exploit an opportunity to win the title as early as the pre-final.
"I did not want to be pressured to much, as the championship was at stake, so I let others slip by in the pre-final," a happy Jason Watt said afterwards. "A quick calculation during that race made me think that the championship was safe and sound, and I radioed my pit to get some assurance, but I was just met by complete silence. But I thought I had taken the title."
Even though Jason Watt finished the pre-final four places ahead of John Nielsen, a second place behind Jan Magnussen suddenly put Kurt Thiim back into the frame for the championship. In the final that pattern continued with Magnussen taking the lead from Kurt Thiim.
"If Kurt would manage to get by Jan, and I would run into the gravel pit, the championship would have slipped away," Watt confesses. "It was a terrible situation for me. But now it's a relief, and I'm so proud of this result. No-one predicted that I would have a future in motor racing again, but I have managed to get the best out of my situation, and with the help of Peugeot Motorsport and hand-control builder Sahva Auto I'm the new DTC champion. But I want more than that. I want to get abroad and prove to the rest of the World that I am a champion."
Not only did John Nielsen loose his chance of winning the Danish Touringcar Championship with tenth place in the final. He also lost second place in the final positions to Kurt Thiim.
"We were running faster than ever during the season, but I don't think that there is much potential left in the BMWs," John Nielsen concluded after the final. "Peugeot and Toyota have improved their engine development, 'cause we simply cannot keep up with them. But I'm not disappointed. You don't get disappointed in motor racing, as it is a business. We just have to do our home work much better."
The star of the two final races at Jyllands-Ringen, however, was Jan Magnussen, who won both the pre-final and final.
2000 European Rally Champion Henrik Lundgaard had qualified for pole position for the pre-final, and for the first third of the race Magnussen had to fight hard, before he finally got an opportunity to nip by in a tight right-hander. His win in the pre-final doubled his amount of success ballast from 40 to 80 kilo for the final, and no-one expected him to take another win. Nevertheless Big Mag managed to keep his Peugeot 307 GTI at the front for the entire 20 lapper, taking fifth place overall.