At the 17th and last race of the season, the Danish Porsche junior Michael Christensen crowned his successful scholarship year in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland with his first victory in the Konrad Motorsport 911. By a hair’s breadth of almost half a second, his junior colleague Klaus Bachler from Austria driving for the Team Deutsche Post by tolimit missed out on climbing the podium. “Both juniors on the podium would have been an absolute dream, of course,” commented the beaming Timo Bernhard, who stood in for the regular junior coach Sascha Maassen at the final Carrera Cup race weekend.
Even before the highlight in Hockenheim, Sascha Maassen had come to a positive conclusion. “Looking at it over the whole season, the Porsche juniors were the best newcomers and have given some of the more seasoned pilots a run for their money. Of course there were a few things needed tweaking and some mistakes were made that should not have been, but the main thing is that they don’t make the mistake a second time.”
And the juniors also made a positive but at the same time self-critical assessment after the final round. The Dane took his maiden victory in his stride. “Today everything paid off from what I’ve learned in my year as a Porsche junior in the Carrera Cup. I’ve worked hard on reaching this goal over the entire year.” But sometimes it seemed to be jinxed. “I was fast in the qualifying sessions and then made minor mistakes during the race which had big repercussions.” One lesson the 22-year-old learned, “In the future think things over a moment longer before taking action.”
The second important realisation made by Christensen during his year of learning. “I had to be more relaxed to be mentally strong at the crucial moment.” And he was. The junior was handed pole position on a plate for Sunday’s race in Hockenheim. He had posted the second quickest time, 0.009 seconds behind the quickest qualifier Sean Edwards. When the Briton was relegated ten positions down the grid because of a sporting penalty, the path was free for the Dane to put on a perfect performance. “My good start was decisive,” Christensen summed up. “Afterwards I pushed hard for several laps to build up a bit of a gap to the others.” He thinks for a moment then smiles, “Well, I just focussed on the job at hand and controlled the race.” But then his excitement overflows. “It’s fantastic feeling to have won the final!”
The second Porsche junior was also pleased with his race, and not just because of his fourth position. The Austrian was the best of the three pilots competing for the team champions, Team Deutsche Post by tolimit. And this was something quite astounding, especially since his teammates are the new Carrera Cup champion René Rast and the vice-champion Sean Edwards. The substitute coach Timo Bernhard praised his protégé from Austria’s Styria region. “Klaus Bachler did a super job. He came from seventh and had moved into fifth place after two laps. Then he overtook Philipp Eng, caught up to Norbert Siedler and put the seasoned campaigner under pressure to the finish. I’m impressed!”
The 21-year-old Austrian, who had already scored fourth at Saturday’s race in Hockenheim, was no less thrilled. “That was a super race,” Bachler commented. “My car ran well from the first to the last lap. Overtaking Philipp Eng was especially great because I had already had a tough time with him, and because it helped me secure third place in the rookie classification.” Second place in the classification for newcomers went to Michael Christensen. The two Carrera Cup rookies can be proud of their results given that the winner of this category is not really a newcomer when it comes to handling the 450 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: Kévin Estre is the reigning champion of the French Carrera Cup and was already crowned Rookie of the Year in the 2011 international Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. One can only agree with Klaus Bachler when he says, “I’m completely satisfied.”