DTC: Ring Djursland race report

Touringcar Racing - May 20th 2001 - Danish Touringcar Championship: Champion Carlsen extends series lead with double win John Nielsen and Jason Watt clashed during the final Reigning Danish Touringcar Champion Michael Carlsen extended his...

Touringcar Racing - May 20th 2001 - Danish Touringcar Championship:

Champion Carlsen extends series lead with double win

John Nielsen and Jason Watt clashed during the final Reigning Danish Touringcar Champion Michael Carlsen extended his series lead with a maximum points score following wins in both the qualification race and the final of the second DTC race of the year at Ring Djursland. Despite carrying 30 kg of ballast from the previous round the Peugeot 306 driver had taken pole position during qualifying, and when the lights turned from red to green Carlsen romped into a lead he was never to loose.

"It might have looked easy from the outside, but it definitively wasn't. At the top end of the field we were all lapping in very consistent lap times, and I felt a constant pressure from behind," Michael Carlsen said after the race.


Having won from Casper Elgaard (left) and Thorkild Thyrring (right), Michael Carlsen extends his DTC series lead. Photo: Morten Alstrup

In the qualification race it was the McDonald's Nissan Racing twins, John Nielsen and Thorkild Thyrring, who were playing catch up. While Nielsen did not have any problems holding second place behind Carlsen, Thyrring in third place was initially being pressured by Team Brask driver Casper Elgaard, but the latter then touched Thyrring and was duly sentenced to go through the penalty lane on the circuit, costing him six positions in the process.

Fourth place was then taken over by Jason Watt, who had great difficulties in holding BMW driver Mike Legarth behind, as the rear wheels of Watt's Peugeot 306 GTI kept locking up at the end of the straight.

The final looked very much like a repetition of the qualification race, as Carlsen shot into a lead, again followed by Nielsen and Thyrring. However, at the exit of the hairpin on the opening lap Watt managed to squeeze his car inside Thyrring's Primera, and in ensuing confusion a fast starting Casper Elgaard and Pierre Legarth also nipped by the Nissan driver, who finished the first lap down in sixth place. Further down the field, Mike Legarth's BMW 320i grounded to a stand-still following a tangle with Team Brask driver Gunnar Kristensen.


During practice the cars of Julian Westwood, John Nielsen and Martin Jensen ended up in a pile up. Photo: Morten Alstrup

At the end of lap one Carlsen had again opened up a sizeable lead to John Nielsen, who was soon caught by Jason Watt. The gap between the two was hastily reduced, but in the middle of the fourth lap Watt's brake problems reappeared, and at a downhill section leading into a tight left-hander he touched the rear-end of Nielsen, sending both cars into a spin. In an instant Casper Elgaard shot by into second place, and he was followed through by Thorkild Thyrring who had previously repassed Pierre Legarth, who later got under intense pressure from former champion, Jesper Sylvest.

Both John Nielsen and Jason Watt got going again, and while the latter was given a stop-and-go penalty for the incident, the former only managed a couple of laps, before his Primera engine went with a big bang. Thus John Nielsen's weekend ended no better than it started, as he had been involved in a multiple car pile up during untimed practice, when the trio of Martin Jensen, John Nielsen and Welshman Julian Westwood had all spun on the oil from a competitor's car. But all three cars were repaired and took part in the race.

As John Nielsen's engine blow up during the race had covered two vital sections of the circuit with the oil, the clerk of the course elected to send out a safety car, while the mess was cleared up. At the re-start it was Michael Carlsen who was the best at timing the exit of the safety car, and he managed to open up a small gap to Casper Elgaard, who did never manage to close it. Thorkild Thyrring held on to third place, while Pierre Legarth and Jesper Sylvest continued to battle for fourth place right until the end.

Renault Megane Estate driver Westwood spent most of the final battling with Volvo driver Jens Andersen just outside the top ten, but following a tangle between the pair the Welshman was given a stop-and-go penalty for the incident.

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Series General
Drivers John Nielsen , Jason Watt , Casper Elgaard , Thorkild Thyrring , Martin Jensen , Jules Westwood , Gunnar Kristensen