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Christensen “Really Happy” With Full-Season Comeback

2018-19 World Champion wasn’t sure of return to Porsche factory GTE-Pro lineup…

Photo: Porsche

Michael Christensen says that he ‘really appreciates’ the decision from Porsche to have him return to the manufacturer’s full-season FIA World Endurance Championship lineup alongside Kevin Estre.

The Dane was previously dropped from the the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19’s full-time driver squad in favor of Neel Jani, instead only competing as the team’s third driver at Le Mans and the eight-hour events in Portimao and Bahrain.

Porsche has effectively reversed its decision from a year earlier, removing Jani from the team and promoting Christensen back to the lineup alongside Estre.

He was also reinstated as a factory driver after being off the roster in 2021.

“It’s great,” Christensen told Sportscar365, admitting he was unsure of his future after getting dropped last year. “I really appreciate being able to come back.

“It’s not always the direction it goes. Normally when you’re out, you’re out.

“I was happy to stick around last year to somehow stay involved. Of course I was eyeing a return, but I wasn’t sure of it.

“I’m really happy to finally get back and of course, focus and try to do great and win some races.”

As a third driver alongside Estre and Jani, he secured a GTE-Pro class podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Christensen also delivered an impressive performance during the closing stint of last year’s 8 Hours of Bahrain, holding off a charging Alessandro Pier Guidi before the two drivers made contact.

Although that performance in the Middle East was highly rated, Christensen said he’s not certain it was the deciding factor in Porsche’s choice to bring him back this year.

Instead, he hinted that talks for a potential return had already been agreed upon prior to the Bahrain finale.

“I guess everything you do on the track has effects on deciding what to do,” he said. “But we already agreed before that we wanted to speak and see if there was a chance and at the end, we decided to extend the program from last year.

“Maybe there was an impact from the last stint in Bahrain, but to be honest, I think we all eyed a situation where we could come back to the normal 92 crew.”

Christensen has now been reunited with Estre, with whom he took a class win at Le Mans in 2018 en route to the GTE-Pro world title during the 2018-19 ‘Super Season’.

The Frenchman is also buoyed about his teammate’s return.

“I’m really happy, although we had a really good year last year with Neel,” Estre said. “But the relationship I have with Michael is something pretty special.

“He’s also a very good friend so it’s definitely different than with other drivers. I’m very happy to be back with him.

“I think we work well together and I think that’s why it makes sense to keep us together.”

Christensen and Estre have developed into one of the most successful WEC driver pairings in recent memory.

They have taken four GTE-Pro class victories and an additional 14 podium finishes since establishing their partnership in 2017.

When asked what makes the relationship between the two drivers work so well, Christensen stated that there are multiple factors.

“First of all, we respect each other a lot,” he said. “Second, I think we’re both good drivers but both of us have our individual strengths. [Kevin] is very aggressive, I’m a little bit less so.

“Sometimes he can learn from what I do and sometimes I can learn from what he does. We’re also not shy of trying to help each other. So we are coaching each other as it goes along as well as just trying to go in a certain direction with our engineers.

“So it’s not just me and him. It’s also our engineers, that we work very closely together with both off track and on track. We’re really a strong team.”

Estre added their mindset is also very similar.

“We have the same mindset on many things,” he said. “We’re definitely different characters, but in terms of what we need to win, we have the same mindset. I think this is what makes us strong.

“Plus, we have kind of the same driving style and the same body, which means less compromise on the car.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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