Chain reaction helped John Nielsen towards victory A blown engine put paid to three top drivers at Padborg Park Team Essex Invest continued its domination of the traditional Padborg Open event at Denmark's most southern circuit,...
Chain reaction helped John Nielsen towards victory
A blown engine put paid to three top drivers at Padborg Park
Team Essex Invest continued its domination of the traditional Padborg Open event at Denmark's most southern circuit, when old man John Nielsen won Sunday's final race, thus fulfilling a hat trick of wins for the team.
Like its counterparts in the World Touring Car Championship the teams and drivers of the Danish series were having their first weekend with the new weight rules, giving the front-wheel-drive cars a 20 kilo advantage in comparison to the rear-wheel-drive brigade. And it showed at the start of race one, when Henrik Lundgaard managed to take his Toyota Corolla T-Sport into a lead, despite having reigning champion Casper Elgaard's BMW 320i right next to him on the front row of the grid.
The Peugeot pair of Jens Edman and Martin Jensen were next up, but the latter was soon getting under heavy pressure from Michel Nykjaer, who managed to move by on lap four to take fourth place. Further down the field several drivers were trying to make up ground. A good start had catapulted Jens Enemark from 17th on the grid to 12th position, and initially the circuit owner managed to keep Jan Magnussen at bay, as the former championship was also trying to improve, having broken an engine during the single lap final qualifying session earlier in the day.
But unfortunately the replacement engine of Jan Magnussen's Toyota Corolla blew in a mighty way. This forced the former Grand Prix driver into instant retirement, but also triggered a chain reaction of events that would turn the race on its head.
Being the leader, Henrik Lundgaard had not seen team mate Magnussen's engine go up in smoke, so he was caught fully unaware, when he tried to brake on the straight which had been covered by his teammate's oil. As he was heading for the unforgiving sand traps, Lundgaard decided to dip into the pit entry instead, a move that split seconds later had to be carboncopied by Michel Nykjær! Even though their participation was saved, their chances were both wrecked, and they spent the rest of the afternoon trying to make up lost ground.
Jens Edman was thus the new leader from Martin Jensen, while John Nielsen was surprised to find himself in third position.
"I was confronted with a gigant plume of smoke on the main straight. I drove through it and started wondering, where two of the tops guys had gone, because I was suddenly in third place," John Nielsen said.
However, the former Le Mans was not allowed to hold this position, as he had to give way to Casper Elgaard, who was surely the faster of the pair, making up ground after having had to drive through the circuit's penalty lane following contact with Henrik Lundgaard at the start. But at the front, Jens Edman could again take a win at the circuit and give Peugeot's its first win in the series for more than eleven months.
With the top five drivers reversed for the grid for the final, Philip Andersen found himself on pole position, but it did not take long for his more experienced team mates John Nielsen and Casper Elgaard to move by him. But soon the safety car came out to give the marshals an opportunity to clear the mess following a grid collision between Jesper Sylvest and Gunnar Kristensen, but as the pack was released again, Philip Andersen was starting to feel the pressure of Martin Jensen and Jens Edman, the Peugeot pair moving by on lap five.
At the front John Nielsen was controlling the race, and even though his team mate remained right on his bumber for the rest of the race, the 2004 champion never got an opportunity to overtake the DTC veteran, who won his 10th final race of his DTC career, setting a new record in the process.
Brief: The next round of the Danish Touringcar Championship will take place at Jyllandsringen on June 12th. * HRH Prins Joachim had a busy and succesfull day at Padborg Park. Driving his Lotus Cortina he won one of the races for historical GTs and Saloons, while he also managed to finished 12th in the guest car of the Renault Clio Cup. * Former World Boxing Champion, Dennis Holbæk, for once managed to beat more than one opponent, when he won a Formula Ford race, taking his first ever race win.