Magnussen won -- Elgaard took the series lead WRC star Markko Martin had a difficult debut in touring car racing On Sunday the Danish Touringcar Championship kicked off in the best way ever with a 27 car field at FDM Jyllandsringen. The new...
Magnussen won -- Elgaard took the series lead
WRC star Markko Martin had a difficult debut in touring car racing
On Sunday the Danish Touringcar Championship kicked off in the best way ever with a 27 car field at FDM Jyllandsringen. The new BMW 320si E90 dominated proceedings, but as the quartet of the Bavarian cars is split equally between Team Essex and Den Blå Avis Fleggaard Racing there were battles and excitement aplenty.
On an overall basis the weekend belonged to Casper Elgaard of Team Essex. The reigning double champion had dominated the new shoot out qualification, and when he took the start in the pre-final he just romped away into the distance, never to be seen again. Behind him Henrik Lundgaard (Den Blå Avis Fleggaard Racing) and John Nielsen (Team Essex) battled for second place, while former Stewart Grand Prix driver Jan Magnussen (Den Blå Avis Fleggaard Racing) was in fact having great difficulties in holding impressive newcomer Michael Outzen (JM Racing) at bay due to puncture.
With the top five drivers being reversed for the final Casper Elgaard had to start this race from fifth, but another sublime start saw him go from fifth to third behind Jan Magnussen and Michael Outzen. Soon he moved by the latter and then the battle for the lead followed. It was a tight and close battle between the two most recent champions of the series, and on the fourth lap Casper Elgaard found his way by Jan Magnussen. However, on the next lap the reigning champion made a cock-up which eventually cost him the race win.
"When I braked at the end of the straight, I got into second instead of fourth. The rear end locked up, and then it was a question of saving the car rather than keeping Magnussen behind," Casper Elgaard said. "I am utterly disappointed not to win the final, 'cause this weekend was mine, and I have been the fastest all day. I can only blame myself. I am the one who went from fifth to second."
Although the mishap sent Casper Elgaard down to second, he was later passed by teammate John Nielsen, who then unsuccessfully tried to find a way past Jan Magnussen but without any luck, the latter doing far much better than in the pre-final.
"In the final I drove as hard as possible, and I had the right tyre pressure to be able to fight from the start," the eventual winner said. "But we are still lacking somewhat, as the car lost speed at then end. But I am satisfied. I am the best winner."
Sensation of the event was newcomer Michael Outzen. The former Danish Formula Ford champion took fifth in both races in his ex-Essex BMW 320i E46, and he ended up being best privateer.
"It is very overwhelming to do his," the 24-year old said. "To race with the best in the business. They are the guys I have been following for years, and now I am fighting with them. It is absolutely crazy."
The most prominent newcomer of the race, however, was Markko Martin. The former works Peugeot WRC star had his first race in the Honda Accord Euro-R that Hartmann Honda Racing is fielding for him.
"It was a quite eventful weekend. Not so much driving and a lot of spectating," the Estonian summed up his first weekend as a racing driver. "The engine broke in the shoot out qualification, so the team had to change the engine. Then on the warm up lap for the second race there was no more battery left, and the engine could not run anymore."
Due to the broken engine in the shoot out qualification, Markko Martin had to start the first race from 19th place in the 27 car field. And he did not get a good getaway.
"When I started the first time, I wasn't prepared so I lost many places at the start. It was the first time in four or five years that I haven't been using traction control," the Estonian explained. "I made it quite difficult to make up some places, but I got some back anyway.
Having completed the first lap in 21st place, Markko Martin quickly moved up to 17th place which was his final result for the pre-final of his first ever race meeting which was something of a mixture for him.
"I actually enjoyed the part of having cars around me. There were lots of cars around me, but midway through I actually got to a position, where there was nobody behind, and I couldn't catch up with the guys in front, because they were doing the same speed. That was a bit boring, but when there are a lot of cars around, it is exciting," the Estonian admits.
"I didn't expect anything from my debut to be fair, but in the same time I wanted to do more laps and learn more and be more competitive. The position doesn't look very good, and I want to do better than that."