Christian Olsen’s European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup campaigns got off to a tough start this weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard, with his new team RLR Msport.
In the Le Mans Cup race on Saturday, his #14 Ligier JS P3, which he shared with his father Tom, failed to finish after Tom had an off in the closing stages of the race at the tricky right-hand Signes Curve. During the race though, Christian performed very well.
He started the race 12th on the grid, and during his stint in the first hour was able to climb as high as sixth overall in the 21-car LMP3 class in the series.
Then on Saturday, it was a similar story, but this time his car did finish. Olsen once again was in for the start of the 4 Hours of Le Castellet (from 13th on the grid), and pushed hard in the opening laps.
He was able to move up the order in heavy traffic during his stint, up to 11th before handing over to his teammate Martin Vedel, who continued the team’s charge, all the way up to sixth just before Martin Rich climbed in for the second half of the race.
Rich struggled for pace towards the end of the race though and was unable to keep the car in the hunt for a top-five finish. Instead, Rich fell back and crossed the line 11th.
“I would sum this weekend up as difficult in both series. We made more progress during the meeting with the Le Mans Cup car because the base set up was good, but that was the race which we didn’t finish,” said Olsen.
“I think my dad got on extremely well, he got up to speed with the car, which was new to him, very quickly. Before his off, his pace was also good. It was up and down for me though, and it didn’t come together.
“In the ELMS, I was frustrated with Qualifying, the set up wasn’t for raw pace, I still struggled to get a clean lap. In the race the pace was still not there, but I think I did the best I could with that package. I didn’t make mistakes and set consistent times. For the next race at Monza, we need to find pace, and we’ll focus on that.”