Porsche’s Christensen on GTLM pole

March 14, 2014

Porsche’s Christensen on GTLM pole

March 14, 2014

mk_3_14_14Porsche North America may have won on debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona but they’ve shown their speed may be here to stay with young Dane Michael Christensen scoring the GTLM pole for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Christensen stopped the clocks at 1:58.933 – the only man to break into the 1 minute, 58 second bracket.

mk_3_14_14aThe qualifying performance was the first opportunity for the young Danish driver in only his third professional sportscar race in North America.

Christensen will share the car with Porsche veterans and former Sebring winners Pat Long and Joerg Bergmeister.

BMW led the chase to Porsche with Dirk Mueller and Bill Auberlen recording the second and third fastest times aboard their Z4 GTE machines.

“Its a good feeling to put the car on pole, and first for the team,” Christensen said.

“Its the first time for me to be here and the first time to win qualifying. I’m happy for the team to achieve this. The car is really good. My first impression is that it is very bumpy. It is very difficult. It is very exciting and challenging to put together a full lap. I like that a lot.

“We have to adjust the car to the bumps, the layout and aerodynamically, shocks, dampers and so-on. We can attack the corners here, we have a lot of grip, but we have to make it drive easily. We make it drive well over the bumps without losing much grip level.

“We just need to drive it as hard as possible. When the class is close like that, its going to be a long long race. You have to get the right track position at the right time. You have to stay calm and patient and know when to push hard. You have to keep a cool head as a driver, and work well as a team over the wall.”

After showing strong pace earlier in the day, Corvette Racing could not replicate that speed in qualifying with Oliver Gavin just outpacing Antonio Garcia by .002 of a second.

sebring_prac3_ 19Risi Competitizone bounced back from a practice crash to qualify seventh fastest – fighting a throttle issue aboard the quickly repaired Ferrari.

“Unfortunately we had this issue in qualifying but we have to look at what the boys did after the crash this morning which was an incredible job,” Gianmaria Bruni said.

“They completely rebuilt the back of the car and we were using the qualifying as much to check it was all working okay as to set a fast time.  It’s better it happens now than tomorrow and we’ve made good progress on the set up too. Despite not being able to go as fast as we should have been able to, I think we will be right on the pace now.”

Top three in class:
(1) #912-GTLM Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR) 1:58.933
(2) #56-GTLM Dirk Mueller (BMW Z4 GTE) 1:59.024 (0.091-)
(3) #55-GTLM Bill Auberlen (BMW Z4 GTE) 1:59.094 (0.161-)

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