At the anniversary race of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in Hockenheim, Porsche Junior Michael Christensen put in an impressive drive. The Dane who normally contests the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, was clearly upset with his 25th qualifying spot after making the wrong tyre choice on a drying track - but turned his second Supercup race to his advantage: At the wheel of Konrad Motorsport’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, he made up 17 positions with a spirited and highly focussed effort and crossed the finish line in eighth. His Austrian Junior colleague Klaus Bachler (Team Deutsche Post by tolimit) finished his Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup premiere in twelfth.
“My start was pathetic, but I managed to recover very well,” Michael Christensen said after his second Supercup race. “A lot was happening in front of me, there were a couple of collisions, but luckily I kept out of it all and was able to plough my way through. The last five laps amongst the pack were really tough, but the fighting was great. I was determined to finish in eighth, but at the same time I didn’t want to risk making a mistake. Luckily in the last lap I passed the guy in front of me. I’m pleased that the race went much better for me than I had expected after the qualifying.”
“My start was good and I made up two places before the first corner,” said Klaus Bachler. “But then there was a crash in front of me, someone hit the rear of my 911 and I spun in the second corner. My car was bruised but luckily I could finish the race. It’s a shame because I’m sure I could have done better. Still, it was my first Supercup race and it was a great experience.”
The week leading up to the race was also action-packed. On their way to Hockenheim, the Juniors participated in a two day practical seminar in the small town of Much with psych-coach Gernot Emberger. This proved to be a new experience for the young racers. “We were given a lot of tips how to go into a race as relaxed as possible and we also learned how to not to let the stress of competition get to us in the first place,” Klaus Bachler said in Hockenheim. Michael Christensen added, “To approach a race in a relaxed way is an important prerequisite for achieving your full potential. Those who are tense are not able to concentrate fully and therefore have a tendency to make more mistakes.”
The countdown for their Supercup event began with a rainy free practice on Friday. After his debut race in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup on the street circuit of Monaco, Michael Christensen achieved the eighth quickest time under difficult conditions – a remarkable performance in such a strong field of Supercup specialists. At his first ever Supercup race, Klaus Bachler managed to familiarise himself astonishing quickly with the Ceramic Composite Brakes PCCB used exclusively in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and clinched 16th position in a 27-strong field.
In the evening at the Porsche Hospitality, a special anniversary was celebrated: “20 Years Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup”. For the Juniors this brought interesting encounters with famous race drivers who helped write new chapters in the success story of the world’s fastest international one-make race series. At the same time, the evening was hugely motivating because for many of these race drivers, the Supercup provided them with the platform to launch their successful careers. “When you see the drivers who earned their racing stripes in the Supercup it gives you a huge impetus to follow in their footsteps,” said Michael Christensen. Klaus Bachler echoed his sentiments, “There is certainly no lack of role models in the Supercup.”
In the hunt for pole position in qualifying on Saturday, the pair achieved mixed results. Klaus Bachler again improved and yielded a decent mid-field spot in twelfth, with Michael Christensen starting from 25th after making the wrong tyre choice on the drying Hockenheimring circuit. “That was a really tough qualifying. I’ve never experienced such heavy rain just before the session,” said Klaus Bachler. “On wet tyres I sat in second place for quite some time, it was much better than in free practice. On my last lap I had to overtake two cars and unfortunately I lost some time because of that.” Michael Christensen was understandably less happy, “I found it difficult today and it didn’t go at all well for me. I’d never have thought the track could dry up so quickly and that’s why I stuck with wet tyres for my last laps. It was definitely the wrong decision.”
But what did not work so well in the hard reality of the Supercup qualifying was compensated for in the world of virtual motorsport. In the “automaniax Junior Challenge” in the race simulator of the Porsche Hospitality, the juniors contested a race on Saturday evening against the 26 best SIM-Racers from all over Europe: Scoring a stunning fourth after his fluffed qualifying, Michael Christensen earned his well-deserved sense of achievement. “Now it just has to go like that in the race,” stated the Dane, “then the weekend will be perfect.”
His wish was granted on Sunday.