Jan Magnussen wins Danish Touring Car opener WTCC driver James Thompson takes fourth in first Danish outing BMW 320si E90 driver Jan Magnussen won the opening round of the Danish Touringcar Championship at Jyllandsringen, building a 15 point ...
Jan Magnussen wins Danish Touring Car opener
WTCC driver James Thompson takes fourth in first Danish outing
BMW 320si E90 driver Jan Magnussen won the opening round of the Danish Touringcar Championship at Jyllandsringen, building a 15 point lead following the three races of the weekend. However, the massive points lead doesn't tell the complete story of the first round of the Danish series, which was indeed very close and competitive.
Timed practice had seen the entire 26 car field covered by just 3.2 seconds, with three of the drivers being very close at the top of the time sheets. Tom Pedersen had claimed pole position in 1.10,450, while Jan Magnussen and James Thompson shadowed him with 1.10,470 and 1.10,528 respectively.
The first race turned out to be a duel between Tom Pedersen and Jan Magnussen. The former took the lead and although Jan Magnussen tried every trick in the book, he simply could not find a way past the white BMW of the new Team Telesikring Racing.
"Tom did a splendid first heat and didn't do anything, I wouldn't have done. He closed the door nice and firmly, when there was a possibility for me to go by, and if I should have gone past, I should have muscled my way past, which involved certain risks which are too early to take at this time of the season," Jan Magnussen said.
"It was a hard battle, but Magnussen was very fair," Tom Pedersen said. "It was great fun, but also hard, but they should not try and intimidate me. I just don't let anybody get past, just because they are called Magnussen."
Third place in the heat was taken by James Thompson from Michael Outzen, who in this heat seemed to have more speed than fellow Chevrolet Lacetti driver Henrik Lundgaard.
For the second race the top eight of the grid was reversed, and thus Tom Pedersen found himself down in eighth place, which became ninth later on, as he got trapped into the traffic. Jan Magnussen, however, moved in the other direction. He passed Henrik Lundgaard and James Thompson among others to start putting pressure on race leader Kasper Jensen after just four laps, and he soon managed to get by the BMW driver, who however managed to withstand the pressure from Henrik Lundgaard.
Following the two first heats the grid for the final had Jan Magnussen on pole with James Thompson, Henrik Lundgaard and Tom Pedersen right behind him. When the lights turned out, Jan Magnussen held on to his lead, while Henrik Lundgaard could exploit his inside line into the first corner to move by James Thompson. The WTCC regular held onto third place, but it soon became evident that he and his Honda Accord were slower that the drivers following him, so little by little a train developed with Tom Pedersen, Jens Edman, Robert Schlunssen and reigning champion Michel Nykjaer following him. Tom Pedersen put James Thompson under pressure, the pair running bumper to bumper and making contact on several occasions, before the Dane slipped by on the penultimate lap to take the last podium position.
"I am very pleased to get some points and finish all three races, because historically the team has not been strong at this track," James Thompson said of this first race in the Danish Touringcar Championship. "There are definitively some tough competitors out there, and I enjoyed the cut and thrust of it and look forward to the next race."
The Brit was not the only driver with FIA WTCC background making his debut in the series. Former GR Asia driver Emmet O'Brien had a troublesome debut for Poulsen Motorsport, having to start the first heat from the pit lane following a technical problem, but ended up finishing the final in 13th place.
The opening round of the Danish Touringcar Championship also saw three of Denmark's leading racing names taking part in completely new surroundings.
Former Champ Car driver Ronnie Bremer gave KP Racing's new Mercedes C200 its debut in the series, but as the car had just been completed the day before the race meeting, the three heats turned out to be extended testing sessions, but still Ronnie Bremer finished all heats and scored a single point.
Former Champion Jason Watt has for this season created his won team with a new Seat Leon as his mount, and the former Formula 3000 driver was doing well in the races, taking seventh in the final with limited testing.
"From a sporting point of view it has been great to go from being number 21st and to end up as seventh in the final. This underlines the fact that I am feeling well in the car," Jason Watt said.
Also aboard a new mount and in new surroundings was reigning Danish Champion and FIA European Touring Car Cup winner Michel Nykjaer. This year he has switched to a BMW 320si E90, and his first weekend ended with one fourth and two ninth places - as well as the loss of four grid positions for the next meeting following a collision with Robert Schlunssen.
"I am very dissatisfied with that," he said. "After having seen it on a video recording, I think the jury should also take a look at some of the others cars. We are riding wheel to wheel, but not running into each other."
The next round of the Danish Touringcar Championship will be held at Ring Djursland on May 18th.