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Interview with Christian Olsen

LM P3 - 13/09/2019 - Jeff CARTER

Reigning FIA Historic Formula 3 European Cup Champion Christian Olsen is now in his second season of endurance racing, the 22-year-old Dane racing with RLR MSport in both the Michelin Le Mans Cup and European Le Mans Series this season.

In 2018 Olsen scored three second place finishes in Red Bull Ring, Silverstone and Portimão alongside Alex Kapadia and Colin Noble to finish 4th in the ELMS LMP3 standings at the end of the season.  This season has proven to be difficult with a mixture of bad luck and mechanical woes hampering his points scoring capabilities.

Christian Olsen retained his FIA title at Zandvoort last weekend, winning both races in tricky conditions to lift the FIA Historic Formula 3 European Cup for the second year in a row with two dominant race wins in his 1983 Martini MK39 Formula 3 car. 

Olsen now returns to the cockpit of his modern RLR MSport run Ligier JSP3-Nissan, alongside fellow Dane Martin Vedel Mortensen and Britain’s Martin Rich, to tackle the 7km circuit at Spa-Francorchamps for Round 5 of the 2019 European Le Mans Series.

How has your ELMS LMP3 season been so far?

Christian Olsen: “It’s been an unlucky season so far. I feel it is operating on compromise, we’ve just not been able to maximise our performances and inputs into reaching a good result.”

How do you rate your own performance in the ELMS this season?

CO: “I feel really good.  I raced in the Asian Le Mans Series in the off season, which is where I got to be the lead driver in the car for the first time, which helped me prepare for qualifying and so on for this ELMS season.  There has been a steady progression and I think the highlight was the qualifying in Monza, where we were the second quickest Ligier and my own personal performance in Monza up to the DNF was really good. It is just the inconsistencies and mistakes that have compromised that last bit that we need to get up to the top.

“To get to grips with endurance racing, Michelin Le Mans Cup and ELMS provide one of the best steppingstones.  It is difficult because you have different cars with BoP in place, you have your teammates that you need to rely on and, of course, the time gets delegated between the drivers on who needs the most time in the car, so you are never fully focused on your own performance. But that’s endurance racing and its part of the game!”

What are your thoughts on the final two race tracks we will visit in 2019?

CO: “Spa is great as most drivers would tell you. It’s a roller coaster and very quick. The weather is unpredictable and can change.  At Zandvoort the track was wet but drying so I was able to use slick tyres and look for the grip on a drying track.  I love this type of racing and I hope it will be the same in Spa.

“Portimão is bumpy, very bumpy! It’s actually built for SuperBikes, so I don’t really know how I feel about running a prototype around there because it’s quite narrow and some completely blind corners, which can lead to some incidents. It’s not my favourite track.”

Round 5 of the 2019 European Le Mans Series in the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, which will take place on Sunday 22 September.

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