It was Michael Christensen’s weekend: On the Nürburgring the Porsche Junior from Denmark set the fastest time in free practice, posted pole position in qualifying and in the race celebrated his maiden victory in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. In his DAMS team 460 hp new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, based on the seventh generation of the 911, the Supercup newcomer won by 1.661 seconds over his compatriot Nicki Thiim (Attempto Racing), the winner of last week’s Silverstone round. Third place went to Frenchman Kévin Estre (Attempto Racing).
A convincing lights-to-flag victory, which further extended Michael Christensen’s lead in the rookie classification of the popular brand trophy series, was the reward for his flawless performance. On the back of his podium result with third last week in Silverstone, the Porsche Junior made a clean start in the race from pole position. Already after two laps on the Eifel circuit, he managed to pull clear of his pursuers. Although his lead of 1.7 seconds diminished at times to just 0.6 seconds, he kept his cool under pressure and brought his maiden Supercup victory safely home.
At first it was the pursuing quartet who clung to the bumper of the front-runner in the warm summer temperatures: Nicki Thiim, Kévin Estre, Sean Edwards as well as Kuba Giermaziak, who very soon farewelled his chances at a podium spot: When he tried to overtake the driver in front, the VERVA Racing pilot from Poland spun after a slight touch and left the track completely just one lap later, this time without being nudged. From position three, Nicki Thiim watched for a while how Michael Christensen was building a comfortable lead at the front. When he passed his teammate Kévin Estre with five laps to go, it was already too late to put the leader under any great pressure. In the final lap Kévin Estre had to defend himself against a spirited attack from Sean Edwards (Team Allyouneed by Project 1). But the Briton, the winner of the first two races of the season in Barcelona and Monaco, was not willing to risk everything and instead concentrated on bringing home secure points for fourth place and defending his lead in the championship.
Germany’s Michael Ammermüller (Lechner Racing Team), who has succeeded in climbing the podium at all three previous races, had to settle for fifth place this time. Putting in a strong drive, Supercup newcomer Ben Barker (Team Bleekemolen) from Great Britain was rewarded with sixth place. Porsche Junior Klaus Bachler (FÖRCH Racing) from Austria made up three places in the race and landed on ninth. Jean-Karl Vernay (MRS GT-Racing) made an even more impressive chase through the field: The Frenchman, who receives support from Porsche this season in his Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign as the winner of the International Cup Scholarship and who celebrated class victory two weeks ago at the Le Mans 24 Hours, had taken up the race from a lowly 20th grid spot – and saw the flag in eleventh.
Michael Christensen (Porsche Junior, winner): “It’s a fantastic feeling to have won my first Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race. My only concern was the start. But that worked well and afterwards it was actually quite easy. I quickly built up my lead and then focussed on not making any mistakes. When the others came closer I would still have been able to do something about it if necessary.”
Nicki Thiim (second): “What a great race. We earned crucial points towards the championship and it can continue this way. If I’d overtaken Kévin a bit early perhaps I could have put even more pressure on Michael. But I couldn’t catch him anymore. Still I’m happy and I’m pleased for Michael scoring his first Supercup win. It’s always good to hear the Danish national anthem at the podium ceremony.”
Kévin Estre (third): “Initially I couldn’t get to grips with my car that well, Nicki was faster. Later it was better but I made a minor error and flat-spotted my tyre. That was it for me. I’m pleased I was able to salvage third place.”
Klaus Bachler (Porsche Junior, ninth): “It was a good race. The priority for me today was to earn some points again. I made a super start and I think I was running in eighth when someone nudged me from behind. I spun and lost time of course. In the final phase I was able to fight my way ahead again.”
Jean-Karl Vernay (Winner International Cup Scholarship, eleventh): “To take off from the 20th grid spot and finish on eleventh place is not bad. Things could have gone a little better but I’m happy to at least yield some points. That was a small ray of hope.”
1. Michael Christensen (DK), DAMS, 26:46.435 minutes
2. Nicki Thiim (DK), Attempto Racing, + 1.661 seconds
3. Kévin Estre (F), Attempto Racing, + 3.904
4. Sean Edwards (GB), Team Allyouneed by Project 1, + 4.202
5. Michael Ammermüller (D), Lechner Racing Team, + 5.405
6. Ben Barker (GB), Team Bleekemolen, + 7.714
9. Klaus Bachler (A), FÖRCH Racing, + 16.659
11. Jean-Karl Vernay (F), MRS GT-Racing, + 17.670
Points standings after 4 of 9 races
1. Sean Edwards (GB), Team Allyouneed by Project 1, 68 points
2. Nicki Thiim (DK), Attempto Racing, 64
3. Michael Ammermüller (D), Lechner Racing Team, 62
4. Michael Christensen (DK), DAMS, 48 5. Kuba Giermaziak (PL), VERVA Racing Team, 44
6. Kévin Estre (F), Attempto Racing, 36
Rookie classification1. Michael Christensen (DK), DAMS, 48 points
2. Ben Barker (GB), Team Bleekemolen, 30
3. Richie Stanaway (NZL), DAMS, 25
4. Klaus Bachler (A), FÖRCH Racing, 22
Budapest: Preview to the 5th of 9 races on 28 July
On the Hungaroring on the outskirts of Budapest, the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup heads into the second half of the season on 28 July – with a gripping three-way fight at the top: The leading trio Sean Edwards, Nicki Thiim and Michael Ammermüller are separated by just six points. It will also be interesting to see if Porsche Junior Michael Christensen can continue his series of good performances on the challenging Hungaroring which he crowned with his first Supercup win at the Nürburgring