Nail-biting duel for grid position one: The Swede Jimmy Johansson clinched his third pole position for the seventh race of the ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup in the current season at the Nürburgring.
Setting a best time of 1m52.040s, the Cup leader – following a long duel – prevailed with a narrow margin over the Danish Touring Car Champion Casper Elgaard. 17-year-old Nicki Thiim, like Elgaard a guest entrant, took grid position three ahead of Niclas Kentenich from Neuss, followed by Patrik Olsson from Sweden and the former DTM Champion Kurt Thiim. Peter Elgaard occupied 23rd place, meaning that the two Danish father-son duels went to the youngsters.
“This was one of the most exciting qualifying sessions the Polo Cup has ever seen. Jimmy Johansson and Casper Elgaard were fighting for the pole position with merely a hundredths-of-a-second gap between them over a long period of time. Only in the end was Jimmy able to put the crucial distance between himself and his pursuer,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “Spectators may look forward to the race because we’ve got half a dozen candidates for victory running at the front of the field.”
“The qualifying was a real thrill. First, Casper was in front, then I was, and suddenly he was on my heels with merely two hundredths of a second between us, ” reported an exhausted Jimmy Johansson. “For a good week I’ve been fighting a flu virus. I really had to give everything to defeat Casper.” For the race, the 22-year-old Swede promises suspense galore. “Casper is a true pro and determined to win. But he’ll really have to make a strong effort to do so: I’ve got such a clear advantage in the standings that I’ll definitely be able to take some chances.” Elgaard, though, wants to turn the tables in the race: “The qualifying practice was pretty close and of course I would have preferred first place. My goal for the race: Two places further at the front than at the Norisring,” said the 28-year-old referring to his guest stint last year when he climbed on the podium as the third-placed driver.
Nicki Thiim, as well, rendered a convincing performance in his first touring car competition – and his first race at the Nürburgring. His famous father Kurt expressed enthusiasm: “I’ve driven countless races here and this boy is faster than I in his first running straight away,” said the 1986 DTM Champion with a twinkle in his eye. “I think the Polo Cup concept of offering the same opportunities to all participants through identical vehicles is great. This shows who – irrespective of their wallet – is truly fast.”
Jason Watt had to cancel his guest performance with deep regret: The former ITC driver had injured his right thumb in a racing accident last weekend, hoping up to the last minute that he would be able to contest the Polo Cup after all.