Hattrick gave John Nielsen DTC series lead Nicki Thiim had an impressive debut in his father's BMW Sunday's fifth round of the Danish Touringcar Championship at Padborg Park really turned the top part of the championship table upside down. With...
Hattrick gave John Nielsen DTC series lead
Nicki Thiim had an impressive debut in his father's BMW
Sunday's fifth round of the Danish Touringcar Championship at Padborg Park really turned the top part of the championship table upside down. With an impressive hattrick of wins in both the two qualification heats and the final BMW driver John Nielsen shot from fourth position overall to become the new championship leader with an eight point lead in front of Seat Leon driver Michel Nykjær.
"I really had not expected to win all three races, because it really isn't possible to go from eighth position to first position in the second heat (where the top eight finisher from heat two start in reverse order, ed.), but I was lucky. I am really pleased that our team has retaken the championship lead. It was tough for us last time at this circuit, but sometimes you have to get pushed down to really get on top again," John Nielsen said.
In not a single of the three heats were his wins in serious doubt. From pole position in the first heat John Nielsen built up a good cushion, and even though his win in this heat gave him grid position eight for qualification heat two, he also managed to gain the lead here. The opening laps of that heat saw many crashes which eliminated many better placed drivers, so the only position gaining move that John Nielsen made, was when he moved past the pole sitting Peugeot 407 of David Falch.
Chevrolet Lacetti driver Pontus Morth was eliminated in a multiple car crash with Casper Elgaard and Jan Magnussen, when the trio was heading for the chikane side by side, while another prominent name in the battle for the championship, Michael Outzen, had been sent off the circuit seconds earlier in another incident. Summer break championship leader Michel Nykjær had a bad day as well, when he outbraked himself and went into the gravel trap.
"My car was heavy, and it was difficult to compete with the other driver. I did not think that it was my mistake, but it probably was," the driver said of his Seat Leon, which had got substantial success ballast from the preceding round of the series. "I felt that I braked earlier, as I knew that I could not keep up with the other drivers, and then I went of. In the second heat I had to start way down and try to progress as much as possible, but it was virtually impossible."
The big topic at Padborg Park was Nicki Thiim. The 18 year-old got his DTC debut at Poulsen Motorsport, substituting for his father Kurt Thiim, who was absent racing at the Le Mans Series i Belgium. In qualification heat 1 he managed to move from eighth to fifth place, while in the second qualification heat he made a minor mistake, before impressing everybody, when he was the only driver to shadow John Nielsen in the final.
"It was really fantastic. What I have done must be every racing driver's dream, so it was just perfect," Nicki Thiim said after the race.
"The final had several periods. At the beginning I was faster, and then there was a period, where John (Nielsen, red.) was faster, and towards the end I was faster, but then it was too late. I did not want to destroy anything, as he is racing for the championship, so there was no idea risking anything. But I do feel I did a proper job."
"It was really nice seeing what Nicki did," John Nielsen said afterwards. "On the last laps he flashed his lights at me in an attempt to press me. I thought that his old man had taught him that. It was really good that he had the ability to think of that."
While Nicki Thiim never got a proper attempt at passing John Nielsen, Jens Edman in contrast made several passing moves. The Swedes was lying sixth at the start of the final, but then he managed to get by David Falch and Tom Pedersen, before he could nick Robert Schlunssen's third place.
"Robert was my old team mate at Peugeot, so it was nice with a good fight with him and also nice to claim a podium position," Jens Edman said.
"The prospects had not been very good at the start of the weekend. We ended up as number 23 in qualifying, but we got the cars sorted on Saturday night, and then we have fought our way back up. We have had the speed on several occasions, but things have happened that have prevented us from progressing. But it was nice to achieve this today."