A premiere for Michael Christensen: The Porsche Junior from Denmark posted his first pole position in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup on the Nürburgring. Competing for the DAMS squad, he was 0.039 seconds faster than Frenchman Kévin Estre (Attempto Racing) in the gripping qualifying with his 460 hp new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which is based on the seventh generation of the 911. He drove his best time in sunny summer weather in the very last lap. A week ago in Silverstone, Christensen took off from the first grid row and finished third.
The qualifying for round four of the popular brand trophy series was hotly contested, with the first 15 pilots all within a second. Behind the leading pair Poland’s Kuba Giermaziak (VERVA Racing Team) clocked the third quickest time and shares the second grid row with Denmark’s Nicki Thiim (Attempto Racing), winner of last week’s race in Silverstone. Driving for the Allyouneed by Project 1 team, Sean Edwards from Great Britain, winner of the first two rounds in Barcelona and Monaco and current leader of the championship, had to settle for position five on the grid. Germany’s Michael Ammermüller (Lechner Racing), the only Supercup pilot so far to climb the podium at every race, was sixth.
The qualifying session did not go as hoped for Porsche Junior Klaus Bachler. On his first set of tyres he slid from the track and into a stack of tyres. Afterwards he was unable to improve on his qualifying time. Driving for FÖRCH Racing, the Austrian had to settle for the twelfth grid spot. Jean-Karl Vernay (MRS GT-Racing) landed even further down the grid. The Frenchman, who receives support from Porsche as the winner of the International Cup Scholarship in this year’s Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and celebrated a class victory two weeks ago at the Le Mans 24 Hours with Porsche, concluded the qualifying on position 20.
Michael Christensen (Porsche Junior, pole-sitter): “To be faster than all the others when it comes down to it – that’s a great feeling. I don’t get any extra points, but it’s still the best starting position in the race. My car was good, just like I wanted it, even with the first set of tyres, although I wasn’t that fast there. So we decided to go out on the second set. The gamble paid off.”
Kévin Estre (2nd qualifier): “I’m pleased with second. I haven’t really been that lucky so far this season. It was a very tight qualifying and I was really close to the pole. But the first grid row is great. Now I’m hoping for a good car on Sunday and that I can finish better than in the first three races.”
Kuba Giermaziak (3rd qualifier): “I made two little mistakes, otherwise it might have been enough for pole position. I’ve already apologised to my team who put a great car on the track for me today. I really wanted pole position, but you saw again today that even if you have a fast car and you know the track well, everything has to go perfectly if you want to be at the front of this strong field. Still we have a good chance in the race. Our speed is fine, we already saw that in Silverstone. If I can get away well tomorrow in the race perhaps I can even go for victory.”
Klaus Bachler (Porsche Junior, 12th qualifier): “That was not my day. I’m really disappointed. On my first set of tyres I went off after making one of the stupidest mistakes I’ve ever made. Nothing worked after that, although luckily the car wasn’t too badly damaged. I simply can’t be satisfied with twelfth place.”
Jean-Karl Vernay (Winner International Cup Scholarship, 20th qualifier): “It’s disappointing of course. It’s going to be extremely difficult to get ahead in the race from so far back but I’ll do my very best.”
The race on Sunday is broadcast live by TV stations Eurosport (11.45 hrs) and Sky (11.40 hrs). Eurosport also televises highlights on Sunday at 23.15 hrs in its “Motorsport Weekend Magazin” programme.
1. Michael Christensen (DK), DAMS, 2:00.950 minutes
2. Kévin Estre (F), Attempto Racing, + 0.039 seconds
3. Kuba Giermaziak (PL), VERVA Racing Team, + 0.058
4. Nicki Thiim (DK), Attempto Racing, + 0.290
5. Sean Edwards (GB), Team Allyouneed by Project 1, + 0.370
6. Michael Ammermüller (D), Lechner Racing Team, + 0.380
12. Klaus Bachler (A), FÖRCH Racing, + 0.685
20. Jean-Karl Vernay (F), MRS GT-Racing, + 1.353