After completing three qualifying sessions at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Ebimotors will start seventh in its class at the 86th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this Saturday. Christina Nielsen, the only woman competing in a field of 180 drivers, and her co-drivers, Fabio Babini and Erik Maris, will race with the GTE Am-category No. 80 Porsche 911 RSR. After finishing 11th in the first qualifying session, fifth in the second and seventh in the third session, the team will start in a solid position for Saturday’s race. However, in this grueling 24-hour event, there are plenty of opportunities for the starting order to be completely shuffled by the time the checkered flag waves on Sunday.
“I’m really happy with the way we ended our session today,” said Nielsen. “It was an uphill battle, to be honest, especially since we missed as much time during the official test day. I didn’t get to drive any laps on that day, so we were a bit behind getting to know the car, setup-wise, and for the drivers to get track time.”
In this week’s qualifying sessions, the team was at a disadvantage due to mechanical problems during an earlier official test day, meaning many of the pre-race sessions were dedicated to perfecting the setup of the car.
“Yesterday, and even half of today, was really a catch-up day,” she continued. “But, in the last qualifying session, I felt like we finally made some real progress to put us in a decent position for Saturday’s race. We moved towards getting the car that will be better to drive as an endurance car.”
Though this is Nielsen’s third time in a row to compete at the legendary 24-hour race, it’s her first time with a Porsche. In her full-season seat with Wright Motorsports in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship in North America, she races with the rear-engined 911 GT3 R. She’s now acclimating to both the mid-engined Porsche 911 RSR and working with her new co-drivers, and she has shown good lap times at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
“Fabio did a good job qualifying,” Nielsen said of her co-driver. “Even though I don’t consider qualifying all that important for a 24-hour race, it’s nice to have that step in the right direction now, when it’s been a bit of a battle to get everything sorted. Plus, Porsche has been great here, and they do have our back. It’s been nice to see all of the support we’ve gotten from them and the effort that’s been given.
“We have a really busy day tomorrow, but honestly I’m just looking forward to the race starting on Saturday,” she continued. “Friday will be amazing with the driver’s parade, but it’s exhausting and takes a lot of energy. The goal is definitely a good night’s sleep before the race so we’re ready for the start. As it looks now, I’ll be starting the race.”
Source. Christina Nielsen