DTC: Watt win makes championship battle wide open

The Peugeot driver took a hard fought win at Ring Knutstorp The battle for this year's Danish Touringcar Championship is again wide open following Sunday's fourth round at Sweden's Ring Knutstorp. With a double win in his Statoil Peugeot 306...

The Peugeot driver took a hard fought win at Ring Knutstorp

The battle for this year's Danish Touringcar Championship is again wide open following Sunday's fourth round at Sweden's Ring Knutstorp. With a double win in his Statoil Peugeot 306 Jason Watt reduced his points deficit to championship leader Michael Carlsen from 28 to just seven points. But the former Formula 3000 driver had to fight hard for his Swedish win.

Team Brask driver Casper Elgaard had qualified his new Peugeot 406 Coupé on pole position in front of Watt, while another Team Brask driver, Gunnar Kristensen, filled row two alongside Citroën front-runner, Jesper Sylvest.

At the green Elgaard made the best start to take the lead in front of Watt, and the pair soon opened up a small gap to Kristensen, who was immediately put under pressure from Sylvest. Further down the field McDonald's Nissan driver John Nielsen was making ip a lot of lost ground. Having started in a lowly 17th position following electrical troubles during qualifying the Brno SCC winner was up into 11th place at the end of lap one, and he then started making his way past Jørgen Weinreich, Brian Mikkelsen and Carsten Leveau.

Midway through the race Jason Watt moved slightly closer to Casper Elgaard, and on the penultimate lap he made his first attempt at passing the Brask 406 Coupé. It failed, but when Watt made another try on the final lap, Elgaard braked a little bit earlier for the hairpin, forcing Watt to take the outside line. This proved to be much stickier than the race line, so on the exit of the hairpin Elgaard and Watt were virtually side by side, and the latter could now take advantage of his inside position in the following right-hander at take the lead and race win.

"I tried to close the door, when we were running side by side, but when we went into the left-hander I had a clear feeling that I would come off worst if I closed the door, so I gave Jason the room he needed," Casper Elgaard explained afterwards.

Behind them Kristensen and Sylvest had continued their battle for third in front of BMW driver Mike Legarth and series leader Carlsen, who was carrying a hefty 80 kilo ballast, while John Nielsen ended up in seventh position following a passing manouvre on Team Brask driver Kent Bo Lauridsen that saw the pair touch.

In the final Watt took the lead from Elgaard, Kristensen, Sylvest and Legarth, while John Nielsen managed to nip by Carlsen. Again Sylvest started to put pressure on Kristensen, and this time he succeded in outbraking Kristensen at the end of the straight at the start of lap two. At the front Watt and Elgaard circulated in close company, being separated by less than a second, while a duel between Nielsen and Carlsen soon became the battle for fifth, when Legarth ran out of tarmac in the first corner. Further down the field there were several interesting battles, as Seat driver Jørgen Weinreich had to work his way past Brian Mikkelsen's Hyundai, while Honda driver Jacob Borum and Volvo S40 man Martin Jensen had a superb fight as they both wanted to avoid ending up as the tail-end charlie of the race.

With three laps to go the battle for the win was virtually over, as Elgaard had been too hard on his tyres and started to loose ground to Jason Watt. At the same time Elgaard's team mate Gunnar Kristensen was now lapping faster than Jesper Sylvest in third place, and on the penultimate lap he managed to pull alongside the Citroën man in the banked Litho corner. In the following left-hander Kristensen still managed to hold on, but as there was only space for one car on the exit onto the straight, Kristensen's yellow 306 went on a bumby ride on the grass, while Sylvest could hold onto third place, the first podium for the 1999 champion following his switch to Citroën.

Reigning champion Michael Carlsen crossed the line in sixth place, and thus he will have too keep his 80 kilo ballast for the next race at Ring Djursland, where Jason Watt will be carrying 40 kilos of lead.

<pre> Danish Touringcar Championship - round 4 of 8 - Ring Knutstorp (Sweden)

Result of the qualification race - 10 laps of 2.070 kms - 20.070 kms 1. Jason Watt Peugeot Statoil Motorsport Peugeot 306 GTI 11.22,300 2. Casper Elgaard Team Brask Peugeot 406 Coupé 11.22,458 3. Gunnar Kristensen Team Brask Peugeot 306 GTI 11.28,579 4. Jesper Sylvest Sylvest Motorsport Citroën Xsara Coupé VTS 11.29,422 5. Mike Legarth Legarth Racing Team BMW 320i 11.29,834 6. Michael Carlsen Michael Carlsen Peugeot 306 GTI 11.30,585 7. John Nielsen McDonald's Nissan Racing Nissan Primera 11.34,451 8. Kent Bo Lauridsen Team Brask Peugeot 306 GTI 11.35,473 9. Brian Mikkelsen Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai Coupé 11.36,968 10. Pierre Legarth BASF Motorsport Peugeot 306 GTI 11.37,397

Fastest lap: Watt, 1.07,236s / 110.832 kph (establishes new lap record).

Result of final - 15 laps of 2.070 kms - 31.050 kms: 1. Jason Watt Peugeot Statoil Motorsport Peugeot 306 GTI 17.03,787 2. Casper Elgaard Team Brask Peugeot 406 Coupé 17.05,665 3. Jesper Sylvest Sylvest Motorsport Citroën Xsara Coupé VTS 17.11,150 4. Gunnar Kristensen Team Brask Peugeot 306 GTI 17.11,341 5. John Nielsen McDonald's Nissan Racing Nissan Primera 17.12,589 6. Michael Carlsen Michael Carlsen Peugeot 306 GTI 17.13,104 7. Jørgen Weinreich Valvoline Racing Seat Cordoba 17.15,338 8. Mike Legarth Legarth Racing Team BMW 320i 17.21,392 9. Brian Mikkelsen Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai Coupé 17.28,142 10. Julian Westwood Renault Motorsport Danmark Renault Megane Stationcar 17.29,245

Fastest lap: Elgaard, 1.07,295s / 110.736 kph.

Championship positions - drivers: 1. Michael Carlsen Michael Carlsen Peugeot 306 GTI 80,0 p. 2. Jason Watt Peugeot Statoil Motorsport Peugeot 306 GTI 73,0 p. 3. Casper Elgaard Team Brask Peugeot 406 Coupé 46,5 p. 4. Jan Magnussen Peugeot Statoil Motorsport Peugeot 306 GTI 41,5 p. 5. Jesper Sylvest Sylvest Motorsport Citroën Xsara Coupé VTS 41,0 p. 6. Gunnar Kristensen Team Brask Peugeot 306 GTI 38,0 p. 7. Kent Bo Lauridsen Team Brask Peugeot 306 GTI 35,0 p. 8. Pierre Legarth BASF Motorsport Peugeot 406 Coupé 31,5 p. 9. John Nielsen McDonald's Nissan Racing Nissan Primera 28,0 p. 10. Mike Legarth Legarth Racing Team BMW 320i 22,0 p. 11. Thorkild Thyrring McDonald's Nissan Racing Nissan Primera 21,0 p. 12. Jens Enemark BlueTel Racing Citroën Xsara Coupé VTS 5,0 p. Jørgen Weinreich Valvoline Racing Seat Cordoba 5,0 p. 14. Carsten Leveau Team Brask Peugeot 406 Coupé 4,0 p. 15. Per Poulsen S40 Racing Volvo S40 3,0 p. Julian Westwood Renault Motorsport Danmark Renault Megane Stationcar 3,0 p. 17. Jesper Villumsen Team Focus Ford Focus 2,0 p. Michael Schröter Team Volkswagen/Castrol Volkswagen Golf 2,0 p. Brian Mikkelsen Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai Coupé 2,0 p. 20. Thomas Faraas Renault Motorsport Danmark Renault Megane Stationcar 1,0 p. 21. Jens Andersen Team Autoforum Motorsport Volvo S40 0,5 p.

Championship positions - constructors: 1. Peugeot 120,0 p. 2. Nissan 43,0 p. 3. Citroën 41,0 p. 4. BMW 22,0 p. 5. Seat 5,0 p. 6. Volvo 3,0 p. Hyundai 3,0 p. Renault 3,0 p. 9. Volkswagen 2,0 p. Ford 2,0 p.

Next round: Ring Djursland, August 12th 2001

-DTCC

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About this article
Series General
Drivers Jan Magnussen , John Nielsen , Jason Watt , Casper Elgaard , Thorkild Thyrring , Martin Jensen , Jules Westwood , Gunnar Kristensen , Per Poulsen
Teams Citroën World Rally Team , Hyundai Motorsport