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Copenhagen Grand Prix - 2009-08-02

For several years I have been invited to attend various race events in Scandinavia.  On August 1-2 historic cars will race through Faelled Park in downtown Copenhagen.  At present it looks like there will be a minimum of 9 Abarths entered, along with IMPS, Anglias and MiniCoopers.

Francesco Averso - Abarth 850 TC
Peter Grau - Abarth 1000TC
Benny Max Gruhl - Abarth 1000TC
Jacob Holstein - Abarth 1000TC
Birger Jensen - Abarth 1000TC
Soren Knudsen - Abarth 1000TC
Sten Lauersen - Abarth 1000TC
Bjorn Mattson - Abarth 1000TC
Perr Whithoft - Abarth 1000TC
Joergen Albertsen - Abarth 850TC
Arne Allard - Abarth 1000TC

When I arrived in Copenhagen on Thursday evening I decided to take a quiet, walking lap of the "circuit" that would be used for the weekend.  The city had already closed off the streets and there was much activity, well into the night, getting things ready for the weekend.  As you can imagine this is normally a regular city park, which in less than a week must host racing cars from all over Scandinavia.

By Friday evening most of the competitors had arrived.  Birger Jensen and Sten Lauersen were kind enough to allow me to set up my little table of wares in their pit space.  Birger was a particularly gracious host the whole weekend long.  I had also managed to find a very nice "bed and breakfast", within 10 minutes walking distance of the circuit, so this all worked out very well.

Abarths were well represented in the display areas as well, as the Danish Abarth Club members brought many of their cars out for display.  Here is a small representation of the cars present.


Several of the Abarth drivers competing had chequered careers in the 60/70s driving Abarth cars.  Arne Allard was actually driving the very same car that he drove in the 60s.  He mentioned that he thought it was unique to have 11 cars for this event, when in the 60s they might only have had 6-7 cars competing.  Other drivers present and competing, who have had storied careers, included Abarth drivers Sten Lauersen, Jorgen Albertsen, David Brabham in a Porsche, Jan Magnussen,  and HRH Prince Joachim of Denmark competing in a Lotus Cortina .  As an aside, Abarth had the largest contingent of racing cars, representing a single marque, at the 2009 Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix.


The weekend did not go without incident.  Unfortunately Birger Jensen's race was over after the first practice session, when one of the quick IMPs  hit the back of his car.  Birger was an innocent bystander, but he was done for the weekend nonetheless.  Likewise, Joergen Albertsen, in one of the two 850TCs,  was out as well, having found the concrete barriers just too unforgiving.

Appparently Kaj Wallin, the owner of Joergen's car, had only just completed a complete restoration of the car.  He took it in stride, and I am sure that the car will be repaired and ready for another race in the future.

Here is a group photo of all of the Abarth drivers who entered the Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix.

Back Row - Bjorn Mattson, Joergen Albertsen, Soren Knudsen, Benny Gruhl, Arne Allard, Sten Lauersen, and Per Witthoftt
Front Row - Jakob Holstein, Peter Grau, Birger Jensen, and Francesco Aversa

The quickest performance was put in by Jakob Holstein.  After hitting a curb in practice, and rearranging the wheel alignment,  he managed to lead the Abarth contingent home in both the Saturday and Sunday races.  For his efforts he was awarded the "Scorpion Trophy".

This is a new "perpetual" award presented yearly by Kaj Wallin to the best performing Abarth driver at the Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix, and will be presented each year from 2009 on.

As a footnote, I want to congratulate all of the drivers for putting on an excellent show.  As was shown by the applause on the cool-off lap after each race, the Abarths again provided some of the best competition on the track.  I hope that in years to come that there will be an even larger turnout.  I know of at least 2-3 cars that could not make it this time, so it is not out of the question to have a starting field of perhaps 15 Abarths in 2010?

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to the Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix. I met many of my customers in person for the first time and renewed friendships with others as well.  I hope that in the coming years I will have the opportunity to see them all again at the Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix.  

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